Kris Buchanan was well established in her hospitality career before she made the decision to further her education. Early on, a high school diploma had been sufficient – but when she moved up in the organization to a sales position, she began to seriously consider the value of going back to school to enhance her credentials.
“My boss thought returning to school would be a waste of time since I already had a successful career,” Buchanan said, adding that part of her motivation may have been to prove that her boss was wrong.
Brookhaven College was an easy choice because the location was convenient and her sister attended Brookhaven as well.
Buchanan said many of the students she met on campus were first generation college students.
“But I wasn’t. Both of my sisters have degrees. My mom has a degree and Dad got his education after his time in the service,” she said. “I was the only one in my family without higher education.”
At first she just enjoyed gaining knowledge as she worked toward a management certification.
“Then I started wondering how many classes I would need for an associate degree. I took two to three classes a semester going year round to get my degree,” she said.
She said her college experience served her well and gave her the confidence to speak more knowledgeably with executives about business specifics and trends.
“It was good. There was lots of support from teachers and professors,” she said. “They saw that you were working towards a goal and I think they respected that.”
The abundance of English and math courses that sometimes were a source of frustration for Buchanan, have paid off and her employers recognize the value her knowledge brings to the workplace.
“My boss has me mentoring other employees. I give presentations before executives,” she said. “I know I am prepared.”
An unexpected benefit of her Brookhaven College experience was a newly discovered love for reading.
“I have built a connection of sharing books with my sister and it gives us something special to talk about,” she said.
Her next step is to go back to school to complete her bachelor’s degree and she is currently considering her options.
“Anyone who thinks about going back to school should do it – even just for a class or two,” she said.
Buchanan is the regional field sales manager for La Quinta Inns and Suites. Previously, she served as director of sales and marketing with Island Hospitality. She is passionate about cooking and loves gardening and spending time with her two dogs.