Why Owen for Attorneys? Meet Sherie Edwards
Name: Sherie Edwards
Program: Executive MBA
Graduation Year: 2012
Company: State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company
Title: Vice President, Corporate & Legal
What convinced you that you could or should do the Vanderbilt EMBA program?
My CEO at the time, Steve Williams, is an EMBA alum. We discussed business school to help with my (at the time) new move into Corporate. He wanted me to attend Owen and convinced me that I could, in fact, accomplish the goal.
What was the greatest hurdle you overcame to start or finish the EMBA program?
Math!! Seriously, my personal SWOT analysis would have ‘math’ squarely under Weaknesses. But thanks to Rita’s amazing Math Camp, and the fantastic professors, I actually came to love (yes, love!) Accounting and Statistics. In fact, my newly found math skills led to my appointment as Treasurer/CFO of the Tennessee Bar Association, the largest professional organization in the state. I have held that post since graduation.
What advice would you give to someone considering Vanderbilt’s EMBA program?
Clear everything not work or family related from your life for 2 years. I tried to stay active in my civic engagements but it just isn’t possible to do well in class and balance everything else. There is a saying, “You can have everything, just not all at once.” It is so true! Also, make sure your family (especially your spouse/significant other) and employer are supportive and know how much time it will take from them. It’s just two years, but they need to be committed also.
How has your approach to business changed as a result of being part of the EMBA program?
Allow me to alter the question just a bit. In my case, my approach to practicing law has changed as a result of being a part of the EMBA program. I am a corporate attorney and, pre-EMBA, approached each challenge or request for legal guidance from a purely legal viewpoint. I am now able to look at issues from both a legal and a business perspective, which helps obtain buy-in from my fellow senior managers when I suggest a different approach to an issue. Plus, I am one of the few corporate attorneys I know that actually has a full ‘seat at the table’ when it comes to strategic discussions.
How has your career been enhanced as a result of your Vanderbilt EMBA experience?
In the three years since graduation, I have taken on the responsibility for not only legal but human resources and corporate (plus regulatory compliance and government relations). In January of 2015 I was promoted to Vice President of Corporate and Legal.
Why Owen Wednesday features a different Americas MBA for Executives or Executive MBA alum each week. To find out more about the Vanderbilt Executive Programs, please visit our website. If you are a Vanderbilt Executive MBA Program alum, please complete our Why AMBA or Why EMBA survey and we’ll send you some Vanderbilt swag as a reward.