CENTRAL – As a business professional, Southern Wesleyan University graduate Gail DePriest shares her experience through numerous leadership roles in the Upstate business community.
As a business educator and consultant, DePriest enjoys the challenges she faces, whether it’s giving guidance to business majors or interacting with business professionals.
“I always enjoy coaching the working professional students, helping them with their goals and often making connections for them,” DePriest said.
DePriest is director of executive leadership and corporate relations at Clemson University’s MBA program, where she teaches four classes in downtown Greenville, including Advanced Leadership, Innovation and Creativity, Career Management, and Leadership and Ethics.
She is also an organizational consultant and currently serves on the Greenville Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board and the South Carolina Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Board.
When she was a young mom, DePriest wanted to earn her college degree, but while raising two children and working fulltime in the pharmaceutical field, she thought she might have to delay her studies, at least until her children were older.
“My neighbor was just completing the program when I moved in across the street from her. Seeing that she was able to manage the classes, two children and her job inspired me to think I could do the same,” said DePriest, adding that her neighbor became both her close friend and mentor when she enrolled at Southern Wesleyan and worked on her business degree.
“It may have been divine intervention, because the business/human resource focus was very helpful to me,” said DePriest. “I later opened a human resource/talent management consulting firm which I ran for four years before selling to a global company.”
The supportiveness of Southern Wesleyan’s professors and staff was also beneficial for DePriest as she sought balance between home, school and work.
“Each night I did my homework at the kitchen table alongside my son and daughter. I was surprised how supportive the professors were about helping students balance work, studies and travel. It really was the perfect program for me and I have recommended it so many times,” she said.
DePriest earned her BS in business management from Southern Wesleyan University in 1990, then went on to earn her MA in clinical counseling from Webster University. She is currently working on her doctorate. DePriest says that Southern Wesleyan provided a foundation for her career and made earning a college degree a reality while she was a single parent.
“SWU was perfect for me at the time and I believe my program allowed me to model the importance of education to my children,” she said. Both of DePriest’s children are now grown and have completed their degrees – one as a nurse and another as a software analyst in healthcare.
“Without my degree from SWU I would not have had the confidence to start a business or get a masters degree – both of which have helped me to be in my current role at Clemson,” DePriest said. “The fact that SWU is a faith-based university was perfect for me. I loved my religion class, my literature class and so many others. My cohort made everything easier as we leaned on each other throughout the process. I am so grateful for the entire experience.”
This story courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University.