Kellie Burns '15
Kellie Burns '15 didn't waste any time leveraging the St. John Fisher College School of Business MBA program to transform her management and leadership skills after making the commitment to go back to school. Burns is currently serving as the Client Relations and Retention Manager for Paychex, Inc. after advancing through various positions including the entry level position she started in 16 years ago. After graduating from Fisher in 2004 with a concentration in financial planning, Burns decided to focus on her career and her family, before returning to Fisher to pursue her MBA degree in 2011.
When asked what inspired her to endeavor in a new program years after graduation, Burns replied, "I really wanted to gain knowledge outside of the Paychex Corporation. I was constantly looking for exposure to new ways of thinking and opportunities to build confidence in my abilities as a leader."
Beginning with the first course and throughout the program, Burns actively applied what she was learning in the classroom to the different projects she was involved with at work. Everything from annual reports and deliverables of budgets, to leadership techniques and creating motivating environments for employees, allowed her to develop her skills and improve management performance.
"It was experience that affirmed my abilities, equipped me with the perseverance to accomplish my goals, and showed me a surprising balance of confidence and humility that I never knew possible," said Burns. "If it wasn't for the Fisher MBA program, I don't think I would be in the position I am today."
When she is out of the office and the classroom, Burns loves spending time outdoors with her family. Whether they are hiking, camping, or boating, she treasures every moment she has with her husband and two children.
Leah George '13
Leah George '13 found a new calling with her studies in the MBA program at the St. John Fisher College School of Business. In fact, she found an entirely new career.
After receiving her B.A. in Communication/Journalism from SUNY Geneseo in 2001, George began her career as a television news reporter for R News (now Time Warner Cable News). During her time as a journalist, George most enjoyed reporting business-centric news, until it got to the point where just telling the story wasn't enough; she wanted to be a part of it.
George enrolled in Fisher's MBA program in order to hone her international business skills. She now serves as managing director of international trade for Greater Rochester Enterprise, an economic development organization focused on business location and growth in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region.
"If it wasn't for the MBA program at St. John Fisher College, it would have been almost impossible to change career paths so drastically," says George. "The most challenging courses in the program ended up being the most valuable. I learned how to evaluate the overall health of a company, especially through financial analysis, to determine whether or not they are ripe for growth and investment."
George was the School's first recipient of the Victor E. Salerno Award in 2014, which recognizes Fisher graduates for their career achievements, their involvement in both the community and the College, and their potential for even greater success as their management careers mature.
"Choosing to pursue a Fisher MBA is more than just an investment in your education," says George. "It's an investment in your future and, really, the future of our community."