Natasha Blakemore-Evans has always been driven by a deep need to succeed. Her pursuit of a college education began in 1993, when she attended Indiana University South Bend and began studying criminal justice. In her mind, she saw herself training to become either a criminal psychologist or forensic detective with the FBI. In 1995, after moving to Indianapolis, to continue her studies at IUPUI, Natasha began working in the federal health insurance industry with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; however, she reluctantly withdrew when her career took off.
Having been raised by strong, influential role models, she understood the value of an education, and earning a college diploma was at the top of her bucket list. In 2007, she enrolled with Marian’s Adult Programs(MAP) but, after a few sessions, withdrew due to the demands of her still growing career. Later, with the encouragement of her husband, she re-enrolled in the fall of 2012, officially launching her quest to complete her bachelor’s degree in business administration. “I learned very early that success, opportunity, and professional growth, are not just given but earned.”
The confidence and leadership skills she now exhibits didn’t come naturally to her. At one time, she had even described herself as somewhat introverted. Although, she would grow to be a more self-assured business woman, she never truly considered herself a leader.
Natasha credits Dr. Diane Stothard, her MAP theology instructor, for setting high expectations in the program and helping in her transition back to school. “She is just amazing. She is a very knowledgeable instructor, and her delivery of course materials was just phenomenal. Her approach to teaching was simply the best.”
As class participation and project work began to force Natasha out of her comfort zone, the slumbering leader within finally began to stir. She credits her time at MAP for not only her improved self-confidence, but for also increasing her self-discipline. “Many classes required presentations as part of the final. I was forced out of my shell, and although it wasn’t easy at first, in time, I came to enjoy doing them. Now, it’s almost second nature for me to present at work.”
In May of 2015, Natasha proudly walked at the Marian University graduation ceremony, having earned both an associate degree and a bachelor of business administration degree, with concentrations in marketing and business technology. “I had goose bumps and honestly had to fight back tears when I heard my name being called out. The excitement and joy was almost overwhelming. Inside, I kept saying, I made it… I made it!”
Natasha currently works at an information technology firm, where she continues to be immersed in new and exciting projects, helping businesses align their operational goals with technological enhancements. Although she finds her current position an extremely rewarding role for her, she hasn’t ruled out the possibility of continuing on for her master’s degree. After all, she certainly has the leadership skills, drive, and focus needed to succeed in an ever changing, competitive marketplace.
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