Shawna Devlin Ferenz
Why did you decide to attend college, and why did you choose Hodges University?
It seems I always knew I would attend college. From a very young age, I saw education as a gateway to empowerment. My college experience was varied and when I committed to finishing my undergrad as a nontraditional, working professional, Hodges was the clear choice. Not only was their system built for students like me, but also in the student body, I identified with others faced with the need to balance continued educational growth and professional demands. It created a comfortable environment to grow and learn.
What challenges and/or obstacles did you face in obtaining your degree? How did you overcome them?
My professional roles have often been demanding and taxing. I enjoy challenge, so the demands align to my professional desires. However, these same positive elements in a career were certainly large challenges while completing my degree programs. Planning and focus were my keys to success. Also, the flexible environment at Hodges provided the supportive backdrop I needed to achieve my goals.
Describe your experience at Hodges University? What is your favorite memory?
My favorite memory was completing my master's final project. I remember finishing the last proof of the paper and feeling a sense of accomplishment similar to major milestones in my life.
What is your current profession and where do you work?
Currently, I serve as the vice president of advertising at the Naples Daily News. It is a rewarding position where I lead a team helping companies grow by making strategic marketing recommendations.
What led you to your current position?
I have worked for the Naples Daily News and their corporate holding company for many years and have served in a number of different management positions. Just prior to moving into the VP role, I worked as the director of business development and before that was a corporate sales trainer. All of my past responsibilities have shaped and readied me for this position.
In what ways has your Hodges experience had an impact on your career and who you are today?
The learning I gained at Hodges is certainly meaningful; however, I might also offer the experience of learning was foundational. I connected with many people in the same stage of life and some of those connections turned into business relationships, and some have become friendship.
Tell us about your greatest accomplishment, professionally or personally.
Parenting two young boys is my largest and most rewarding role. I am not sure you ever feel as if you have accomplished the goal of parenting, as it more of a lifetime commitment, but certainly my greatest moments of pride are associated with being a mother.
What advice do you have for current Hodges students?
Be present. It is hard to balance all of the demands of life and education; however, as much as possible be in the moment of learning. Not only will you gain more…but also you will create memories you can relive throughout your life.
How do you spend your free time?
My first love is reading. Any free time I might have I invest in historical fiction.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I am not naturally detail-minded. Working for a number of visionary leaders, I have trained myself to be tuned in to the details and milestones needed to accomplish a goal or mission. For me it is a learned trait.
If you could visit any place in the world, where would you choose to go and why?
I reward myself with travel, so I have a clearly defined “next up” location: Vietnam. A friend traveled there many years ago and came back with most beautiful pictures and cultural experiences.