Brisa Thompson: ‘Overcoming challenges … getting the job done’

May 20, 2018 by Brandman University

Brisa Thompson, who delivered the student commencement address for the Brandman University School of Business and Professional Studies and School of Education commencement Sunday at Chapman University’s Wilson Field, discovered her passion for training and organizational leadership on the road to earning an MBA this year. The result: new skills and a career advancement at the Irvine Co.

Here’s what she told her fellow grads:

Thompson family
Brisa Thompson with her husband Corey and children, Evelyn and Henry.

A flower lei, a graduation mortarboard with a clever quote on it, and an outfit you’ve painstakingly selected, only to have it covered by this oh-so-flattering regalia. Graduation. We did it.  

To all students – you somehow found the motivation to haul yourself back into the classroom to take on piles of homework even though you were “done” when you received your first degree. You somehow managed to squeeze more hours out of the day than should be possible while balancing a job, a personal life, significant sentence exercises and discussion board responses that had to be on three different days of the week. 

As a mom of two ... energetic ... young children, a manager of a team of over 40 people working in a high-stress environment, and someone who really likes to be able to read books that are not about corporate finance, I am the first one to admit that there were times during this program that I just didn’t want to continue. 

No one was telling me that I had to get my MBA. I had a great job and my bachelor’s.  After a 10-hour day of making decisions and holding people accountable, an hour and a half commute on the 91 freeway, making dinner for my family, and wrestling the kiddos to bed, homework was, quite literally, the very last thing I wanted to do. Let’s be real. I wanted to sleep. For a week straight. I wanted to spend time with my amazingly supportive husband, who was probably starting to forget what I looked like, considering I was always behind a computer screen doing homework.  

But I had to pull through. I wanted this program, this degree. I wanted the confidence to be able to tackle problems at work with efficiency, a solid core of knowledge and concepts that have been tried and tested over the years. Ok, I’ll admit it. Maybe, just maybe, a small part of me wanted the little tag at the end of my signature line that says “MBA.” For whatever your reasons were for starting out on the path to the degree—your path to this moment right now, we all found them; we stuck to them; we put in the work.  

Every person here found the motivation to not only complete homework assignments but to take course concepts and assigned readings and put them together to create something uniquely meaningful. Every person here had the courage to reflect on their experiences, collaborate with others, and expand the boundaries of their knowledge. 

Every person here entered a partnership with Brandman University – with each professor and counselor – to overcome every challenge that life threw at us during this program. Every person here was able to take advantage of the wealth of experience and insight our professors brought to the classroom and applied it to our own lives. Every person here made deadlines and conquered papers. 

Simply put, everyone here got the job done.  

Southern Commencement - 4 p.m. - School of Business and Professional Studies and School of Education

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