Obtaining Master of Business Administration Moved GWU Alumna Closer to her Career Goal

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Kim Shepherd ’14 Named Chief Executive Officer of Telecommunications Company

Five employees of Skyline sit in a meeting led by Kim Shepherd, a Gardner-Webb alumna.
Kim Shepherd, center, is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Skyline, the telecommunications company she works for in West Jefferson, N.C.

From early on in her career, Kim Shepherd’s goal was to be Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Skyline, the telecommunications company she works for in West Jefferson, N.C. Recently, her dream became a reality. A key step in reaching her objective was obtaining her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Gardner-Webb University.

“Obtaining my MBA gave me the knowledge I felt like I was missing in order to be 100 percent confident in my abilities to be successful as CEO,” Shepherd affirmed. “I knew I needed some additional training in financials, from a managerial perspective. I have a passion for learning so rather than just sign up for a few financial and/or accounting classes, I decided to jump all the way in and enroll in the MBA program. I am so glad I made that decision.”

A native of Ashe County, N.C., Shepherd has worked for Skyline for 20 years. She has held various leadership positions, including repair services supervisor, customer service manager and executive director of Customer Operations, overseeing both Customer Service and Field Service departments. Before being named CEO, she was the company’s Chief Management Officer, a position that directs the company’s day-to-day management operations.

In her new job, Shepherd pledges to maintain the core values that built the company. “We will continue to be a role model for others in our industry–from a technology, network, and innovation perspective but also from a cultural perspective,” she stated. “SkyLine is a local company who employs individuals who genuinely care about what they do. The customer service we have provided for the past 65 years has, to a large extent, defined this company. Success means maintaining that. I have a love for SkyLine, its employees, its customers, and all it stands for. The opportunity to work with such fantastic people in the role of CEO is thrilling to me.”

She chose Gardner-Webb’s MBA program for the convenience. “I needed a program that could be completed 100 percent online,” she acknowledged. “I was working full time with two teenagers living at home. After finding a few schools with an online option, I selected GWU due to its principles, values and Christian background. Price also played a part in my decision, but that came after values.”

Additionally, Shepherd was able to apply her Strategic Management capstone project to her job. “That class truly tied the elements of the previous classes together,” she assessed. “My final project in that class, and thus in the program, was ‘real.’ In other words, it was something I used in the position I held then, and the company used as part of our strategic planning.”

She concluded, “Gardner-Webb’s MBA program is well worth the value. The experience worked perfectly for me, and the professors and staff were welcoming and helpful–even for someone off campus.”