The Kogod School of Business doesn't just educate students--it advances them. Julie Bloecher, MBA '10, is a prime example. "The knowledge I gained studying at Kogod really helped me grow professionally," she says. “The business cases we studied and theories we learned really honed my analytical skills.”
Bloecher, who came to Kogod with nearly 15 years of experience in the technology industry, enrolled initially as a way to certify her business expertise. "I had a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and a lot of on-the-job training. I wanted to add to this experience with a formal business degree from Kogod," she says. "My goal was to connect theory and practice.”
She soon discovered the school’s value went well beyond formal technical training. "Kogod helped me see the bigger picture," she says. "I learned a great deal from others about how to deal with business issues and challenges."
For Bloecher, the most impactful part of the program was the connections she formed with faculty. She credits her professors with providing the mentorship and guidance she needed. “They were always on the look-out for opportunities that would help me grow and expand my network—both inside and outside the classroom,” Bloecher says.
Her relationship with information technology professor Jill Klein was especially rich. Klein, a member of the DC organization Women in Technology (WIT), recruited Bloecher for an opportunity with WIT that enhances her professional life to this day.
WIT was laying the groundwork for a soon-to-be-launched program, The Leadership Foundry, which prepares women to serve on corporate boards. Before they launched it, though, they wanted to establish a way to measure the program’s success. WIT planned to write Advancing Women to the Corporate Boardroom, a report outlining the number of women serving on DC area boards, as a tool to do so.
The only kink in their plan? They didn’t have a writer.
A New Challenge and Chapter
Klein pinpointed Bloecher as the ideal candidate for the project. “Julie is a professional with a knack for research and data analysis. She had the perfect combination of skills and interests for the job,” Klein says. Bloecher accepted, ready to dig into a new challenge.
Over the course of the next two months, she collected and analyzed data, crafting her findings into the report. Advancing Women to the Corporate Boardroom was a milestone for both Bloecher and The Leadership Foundry, marking the program’s first major publication.
Publishing the report was just the beginning. Bloecher felt such a connection to the organization and to the mission of board gender diversity that she oversaw the production of the next annual report. She eventually served as Vice Chair of The Leadership Foundry, ultimately becoming Chair.
She credits WIT for many of the strong connections she made in the DC business community. “Working with WIT was wonderful because it connected me with many high achieving women who are well- recognized in the local business community,” she says. “The initial opportunity Jill offered me has had a big impact on my professional life.”
Taking it to the Next Level
Bloecher wants to pay it forward. She’d eventually like to transition out of the corporate world and start an organization that helps prepare the next generation for success—much like WIT did for her. “Long-term, I’d love to use the skills and experiences I acquired at Kogod to help others grow, too,” Bloecher says.
Bloecher is grateful for the knowledge and skills she gained at Kogod. She acknowledges the school helped her take her professional life to the next level. “Pursuing my master’s at Kogod helped me advance my career, broaden my network, and form strong professional and personal relationships that continue to this day,” she says.
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