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Melissa Evens

Manager of speakers and events - Krannert School of Management

Melissa Evens

What do you do at Purdue?

I am manager of speakers and events at the Krannert School, where I create and orchestrate special events and speakers' series, from on-campus events to alumni receptions around the world. One of my favorite responsibilities is the Krannert Executive Forum, where we schedule 13 diverse speakers every semester to engage and converse with our students. I schedule, coach and do logistics for the speakers and serve as a "GPS" for them during their visits. All in all, I have coordinated more than 350 speaking engagements. In addition, in April I will become a certified corporate etiquette and international protocol consultant, which will allow me to continually enhance customer service and protocol at the Krannert School for both domestic and international events.

Which woman has inspired you most? Why?

It's really difficult to pick one, especially with a wonderful mother, daughter, sisters and friends that are like sisters -- some I met my freshman year at Purdue. But a few years ago, I was struggling as a single working parent and needed some encouragement in my work-life balance. I was worried about my family. Like most parents, I wanted the best the for my two children, Samantha and James.

At an event, Purdue's former first lady, Mrs. Jischke, noticed the lost look in my eyes and told me she was going to invite me to Westwood for tea. Kindly, I thanked her but did not dream she would email and set up a formal time for us to meet one-on-one for an entire afternoon!

While sipping tea, Mrs. Jishcke mentored me on being a strong woman, the value of my Krannert career and connecting it to my family, and how to capture and develop growth opportunities for my two children. On the drive home from Westwood, I vowed I would do my best to share positive energy and friendships with as many people as possible.

What are your goals and experiences with mentoring or encouraging others?

Early in my career I heard a quote and it became my mantra: "The only way to be successful is to help others be successful." I believe it takes the entire Purdue community to develop strong and innovative leaders. I am adamant about sharing my connections and knowledge with students to help them find mentors or to help them discover their strengths. Students often are humble, but if you ask probing questions about their experiences I have discovered they can find gold inside themselves.

Helping students with self-discovery or pushing them out of their comfort zone while being available to listen to them is a very rewarding part of my career. I must say, I am the proud mentor of many successful Boilermakers all over the world and in return they have mentored me!