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Jan 30, 2017 2017-01 Accountancy Alumni

Janet Lee ’10, ’11: Staying Connected

janet-lee_When Janet Lee first enrolled in the College of Business, she wasn’t entirely sure where her education would take her – she only knew that a business degree was the best base of education that she could use to build many different types of careers. Since then, her experiences as a student gave her a firm foundation for her current career as a client strategist for PwC Chicago. She continues to stay connected to her alma mater as a way to give back and help more students find future career success. Janet holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accountancy. After she spent some time early in her college career exploring her options, she chose the major when she saw other students with internships in accounting who had great career opportunities as a result. She also enjoyed accounting classes, so it was a natural fit. A study abroad experience in Vienna through the College of Business was another formative experience. “It was the single most defining experience in my college career,” Janet explained. There, she spent a semester in Vienna, where she interacted with business students from all over the world. She learned how business was conducted in other geographic areas. “It gave me a lot to bring back to my education in the US and understand how my world had become more global, and how we fit into that global culture.” The experience has since fueled a love of travel. In her spare time, she travels as much as she can, and after a recent trip to Southeast Asia, she looks forward to seeing more of the world in the future. In addition to the foundational experiences she received from her instructors and in study abroad, Janet was involved in multiple student organizations which impacted her education. Her business fraternity, Phi Gamma Nu, became her family while she was at school. She also served as the president of the Senior Legacy campaign during her senior year. Her class gave a garden outside BIF as its gift to the school. “That was a really cool way for me to wrap up my student experience and be able to give back,” she commented, “I had received so much from the classes and the organizations I was with as a student, so it was a really cool way to launch my alumni career.” Janet was a member of Business Honors as a student, and graduated soon after the Business Honors Alumni Committee was established in 2008 – allowing her a smooth transition from student to alumna in her involvement with the College. The Business Honors Alumni Committee formed as a way to formalize a structure around former Business Honors students. They focus their energy on encouraging alumni to give back time, talent, and treasures to help the next generation of Business Honors students move forward. Janet has been personally involved in the fundraising initiative. “Our goal is to see the Business Honors Program become fully self-funded someday,” she explained. “We want to raise money from our alumni to create an endowment, and hope that it continues to grow so we can eventually self-fund all the scholarships that go through the Business Honors Program.” They are currently in the middle of a two-year campaign to build the endowment – meaning that they are halfway to their goal of raising $100,000 for future Business Honors students. All of the alumni they have targeted are 32 years old or younger due to their focus on young alumni giving. The result is a testament to the power of bringing in a lot of smaller donations from a lot of people. “A lot of students probably look at fundraising as targeting very wealthy, older people who can give $500,000 gifts – which is also a great way to earn money – but there’s so much power in a big group of committed people giving as much as they can and then putting that together for a benefit.” Janet is also very active with the Business Young Alumni Committee (BYAC), which she immediately joined after graduation. The BYAC plans social and professional events for young alumni of the College of Business in the Chicago area. “We automatically have this collection of shared experiences and become friends and develop professional networks that way,” she explained. Those friendships may prove to last a very long time. “For me, there was never a question of whether I was going to stay involved. We learned in the College of Business on Day One that our relationship with the College is a lifelong relationship, and we do what we can to maintain that relationship.”