2020 graduating employee

By Life@TheU

2020 graduating employee

By Life@TheU

Flora Fox

What is your current role and department at UM?

I am the associate director of Donor Experience with the Division of Development and Alumni Relations.

What degree will you be receiving this coming graduation? 
Master of Science in Leadership from the Miami Herbert Business School (when I began the program, it was MSc in Management Studies)

How long have you been in service at UM? 
This October, I will be celebrating my five-year anniversary. I began my career in 2015, as a donor relations manager with the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and moved to central development in 2017.

What were some highlights of your time as a student and employee? 

What struck me the most about being a student at UM is the diversity of faculty and members in my cohort. My classmates had varying degrees of work experience, spanning across industries, with a multitude of cultural backgrounds. This synergy brought different perspectives to strategic discussions and problem solving, which I found applicable to real-world situations and easily implemented in my career. 

As a student, one of the courses I found extremely useful was Critical Thinking and Persuasion for Business, taught by Bill Ellet. I was always hesitant to speak up at meetings even when I had valid points to add. I would trip over my words, not be concise in messaging, or not be comfortable with my delivery. It wasn’t until that course that I began to feel comfortable in front of the class. The multiple presentations allowed me to practice more, receive feedback from my peers, and work on my mindset while standing on the classroom floor. Parallel to the class, at work, I was presenting to my colleagues and leading meetings on a regular basis, so I was able to apply what I learned in class immediately. Now, I am actually looking forward to presenting, whether in class or at work. 

As an employee, one of my highlights had always been sharing with donors the thank-you letters written by their scholarship recipients each year. It is touching to see students’ appreciation for being awarded scholarship support and to read about their accomplishments during their time at the U. Our donors love receiving these tokens of gratitude, and I’m so proud to be part of the project.

What is a favorite UM memory? 
One of my favorite memories is volunteering at commencement in 2018, as that was the catalyst for the decision to continue my education and pursue a master’s degree. At first, I was just happy to help my team and be a part of a large and meaningful University event. However, as I watched graduate and Ph.D. students cross the stage to receive their diplomas or get hooded, noticing the different age groups, I was impressed and felt inspired. Their sense of pride and achievement that overwhelmed the space and was infectious. It led me to think about my opportunities and whether I could do the same. Of course, at that time, I was only considering taking a few liberal arts classes to test out the academic waters, not joining a two-year master’s program. Yet, had it not been for that experience, I would not be a member of the graduating class of 2020 today!

Have you received any awards, honors, or special achievements? 

During the course of my studies, I was honored to have been selected to receive a scholarship for the Disney Institute’s Leadership Excellence program. Also, I think getting a master’s degree from the University of Miami is a pretty special achievement.

Please share any advice that you might have for employees looking to go back to school.

Just do it! There will always be excuses to postpone going back to school, to say that now is not the best time. However, it is completely up to you to make the time, make your education a priority, and invest in your future. We are always learning and growing, and not taking advantage of the exceptional education available at UM is truly a missed opportunity. Going back to school will not only enhance your existing skills and build self-confidence, it will also provide opportunities for getting out of your comfort zone and growing your network of colleagues and friends. I was hesitant to start this journey. I had a young family, I was still learning the ropes of a new position, and it had been more than 14 years since receiving my undergraduate degree. Now, after completing this program, I can say with full conviction that this has been one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences of my life, which also resulted in lasting friendships. I did not think that I could do it, but I am proud and elated to have this accomplishment.

Learn about other 2020 graduating employees.