Michelle O'Connor '91
The path Michelle O’Connor ’91 took to her current role as CEO of a multimillion dollar company was not an easy one.
In the late 1980s, O’Connor was a single mother and determined to finish her degree. “I heard about the non-traditional degree program for working adults. I attended an information session at Radford University and became excited for the opportunity to continue my education,” says O’Connor. O’Connor majored in business management with a minor in psychology. “I commuted to Radford from my home in Blacksburg. It was important for me to keep a balance of my responsibilities as a mom while excelling in my classes,” says O’Connor.
While attending Radford, O’Connor was influenced by two professors in the psychology department, both of whom remained active in their fields of study and were able to share real life experience. They also genuinely cared for their students. O’Connor’s biggest take away from the university though was the confidence that she gained in herself and the desire to continue her education.
“After I graduated, I went on to earn my Masters of Education degree in curriculum and instruction with a cognate in training and development at Virginia Tech,” says O’Connor.
After receiving her master’s, O’Connor accepted a position at CMR Institute as the first fulltime employee in the curriculum department. The CMR Institute is a non-profit educational organization that was established by physicians more than 40 years ago. The organization works to educate life sciences professionals and their companies with information that will increase their knowledge and understanding of the issues trending and affecting the field of healthcare.
Today, O’Connor is the CEO and President of the organization. “I love this role because it allows me to actively participate in developing the next generation of leaders, which is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job,” says O’Connor.
O’Connor still has close ties to her alma mater. “My husband John teaches graphic design in the art department. I also interact with current students at exhibit openings and the American Advertising Federation awards, which is an annual event that recognizes the best in both student and professional advertising, broadcasting and graphic design,” says O’Connor.
O’Connor enjoys seeing and interacting with Radford University students. “I encourage students to not take their education for granted. I went to school later than most and I had a true appreciation for the value of a college education. College is where you discover what you really want to do with your life. If you commit yourself to it, you can gain the knowledge and skills required to do what you love,” says O’Connor.