Alumni Spotlight: Ardyth Neill

Name: Ardyth Neill  
Degree(s) Earned: BA – Major: Business Administration Minors: Economics and Accounting
Graduation Year(s): 1982
Current Profession: President, Heifer Foundation – HeiferFoundation.org  

We’d love to share more about your professional success with our current and future students – please describe your career path to this point as well as your current profession:

I have also attached my most current bio that is current other than my new role as a board member of WomenThrive (http://www.womenthrive.org/ ).

My path has not necessarily been the typical path I know many subscribe to with goals and milestones along the way.  I have just been open to do whatever was needed and when I saw an opportunity, I took it.  That meant that each organization I have worked for was the foundation for the next step in my career path.  If I did not know how to do something, I immediately researched the task and sought out mentors that had experience that accelerated my ability to complete the task and grow my skill set.

I have been with Heifer (Heifer International and Heifer Foundation) 20 years.  It has allowed me to combine my abilities with my passion to make the world a better place for all of us.

How did your experiences in the Breech School of Business prepare you for your professional career?

My time at Breech and Drury set the foundation for my ability to continue to grow and serve.  My father encouraged me to go to Drury for two reasons: 1) He and my Mother were graduates of Drury and  2) He was afraid his quiet shy daughter would get lost at a larger institution.  I think he always wondered what happened to that quiet shy daughter as I left school and became very passionate about making the world a better place.  I also learned that even though I am a natural introvert that did not have to be a hindrance.  It has turned into an advantage that I use to focus my passion as I speak about Heifer’s work to end hunger and poverty.

Were there any specific courses or areas of study that were especially useful to you?

I would say all of them, including the liberal arts requirements.  It all helped me be a well-rounded individual and use my general knowledge in many areas to attain the specialized knowledge needed to grow as an individual and professional.

Do you have any favorite memories inside the Breech building?

At this, time I cannot think of any, other than that was where the theater was and I always enjoyed the performances there.

What advice would you offer to a new student beginning their course of study in the Breech School of Business?

Learn as much as you can.  Not only in your area of chosen study, but in all areas of your education process.  Be open to opportunities and say yes to as many of them as you can.  My experience is that it is the opportunities you do not look for that are sometimes the most rewarding and transformational.