SCPS Helps Student Find New Career Path
For LeRoy Chalmers, alumnus of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies class of 2014, going back to school had a greater impact than he could have ever imagined.
LeRoy was in the banking industry for over 17 years, gradually moving up the ladder to Vice President at a leading Chicago bank, when he decided to go back to school and attain his B.A in Management. It was tough decision, laden by the fact that during LeRoy’s last year at school, he was the sole wage earner in the house, also taking care of his ailing grandmother. But Loyola’s support system helped him power through the tough times and emerge successful.
“The Business Ethics (CPST 360) class really messed me up – in the most wonderful and life-changing way.”
Says LeRoy “Loyola provided me with a community that not only encouraged my curiosity for learning, but also provided support for personal development and growth. My teachers were not just mentors in class, but also gave me a counselling network outside of class to fall back on”
Upon graduation, LeRoy quit his high-paying banking job and took up a post as Executive Director, at the Greater Roseland West Pullman Food Network (GRWP), Chicago, IL. The network provides a comprehensive and coordinated response to combating food insecurity in communities that make up Chicago’s South Side.
When asked about the trigger to what sparked that change of career, LeRoy credits it to his time and education at Loyola. “Some of the classes at Loyola changed the way I approached life. The CPST 380: Leadership, Culture and Ethics class, in particular, opened my eyes to the fact that if I am not part of the solution, then I am part of the problem.”
Apart from CPST 380, subjects like CPST 360: Development and Change in Organizations, and Interpersonal Communication, also added to LeRoy’s changing mindset for wanting to be a part of something for the greater good. Moreover, the Jesuit values that are so deeply ingrained in Loyola’s teaching culture, supported this new sapling of thought that LeRoy had.
The Business Ethics (CPST 360) class really messed me up – in the most wonderful and life-changing way,” said Leroy. “CPST 360 made you truly reflect on the kind of person you are. I remember [standing outside] the corridor [near] the Student Union at Loyola, [where there were] these pictures of nuns and social workers that were murdered in El Salvador. And it kept taking me back to memories of seeing that incident on TV. And it made me think – What am I doing to help? This thought, not only triggered my ideas for projects and assignments in the class –I think it also brought me here to GRWP”
Looking back on his time at GRWP, LeRoy reflects with pride on his accomplishments in the short span of one year. From hosting a successful farmer’s market to winning an award for their first ever Junior Achievement Program, LeRoy has spearheaded many successful campaigns. “We have come a long way in the last year. But we still have a long road ahead of us. Some of the strategies I have learned in my Communication and Persuasion classes at SCPS still help me when I am planning a fundraising pitch or a new venture,” remarked LeRoy.
LeRoy is excited about the network that Loyola offers to alumni upon graduation. With the help of this network and his degree, LeRoy hopes to fulfill GRWP’s vision of developing sustainable communities where neighbors know their food, grow their food, and are the entrepreneurs and workforce powering local and larger, green economies.