CSU MBA Student Succeeding Through Education, Outreach 2/24/2017 Famed African-American educator Marva Collins once said: “Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it.” Columbia Southern University graduate student Yolanda Breckenridge has come to understand this as she works to improve her career with an online MBA in human resource management. She is a program support assistant at the Veteran Affairs Northern Indiana Health Care System (NIHCS) where she has risen through the ranks as an employee with the VA for the past nine years. She enjoys working with people and helping them overcome obstacles and her efforts with the agency have garnered several recognitions. For example, while serving as chair of the Diversity Advisory Committee in 2014, Breckenridge was instrumental in addressing barriers to employment for all underrepresented groups as well as educating staff, managers and senior leadership on the importance of diversity and inclusion. This heartfelt effort led to her earning the 2014 VA NIHCS Diversity Award and Veterans Integrated Service Network 11 Director's Diversity Award. These awards were a testament to Breckenridge’s desire to help others achieve their goals and now motivates her in her career pursuits. “Working in human resources would allow me to assist in the development and building of employee skills which will help them better themselves personally and professionally,” she explained. Breckenridge has nurtured her desire to learn further by joining professional groups such as the Society for Human Resource Management, National Black MBA Association, National Association of African Americans in Human Resources and National Society of Leadership and Success. As the wife and mother of four continues to work on her MBA degree, she also finds time to help her community and church as a choir member in Marion, Ind. “I currently volunteer my time to M-Power which is a nonprofit organization developed to empower the youth within my community to become productive members of society,” Breckenridge said. The Marion group is committed to mentoring, guiding and tutoring at-risk teenagers by encouraging the growth of healthy minds, bodies and spirits, according to its Facebook page. As she advises these youth of her community, Breckenridge also spares this sage advice to any African-American woman seeking success. “I would tell her to continue her education by enrolling into some college courses; you’re never too old to go back to school. If training is offered at work, take advantage of it. Volunteer her time to be on special work committees, this will enable her to be around other innovative minds and department leaders.” She pointed out that career success can be helped by others, too. “Finding a mentor at work will benefit her with learning more about the company and introduce her to influential people. I would tell her to set her mind and never give up on what she wants to do.” Lastly, Breckenridge suggested since it is now National Black History Month, all African Americans should “never forget the struggles that our ancestors went through to get us where we are today.” Those wise words could also be paired with her ultimate advice: “Trust in God and anything is possible.” About Columbia Southern University One of the nation’s pioneer online universities, Columbia Southern University was established in 1993 to provide an alternative to the traditional university experience. CSU offers online associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees such as business administration, criminal justice, fire administration and occupational safety and health. Visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu or call (877) 347-6050 to learn more.