Brett Wiseman '03
Brett Wiseman ('03)
When I graduated from USD in 2003, I was unsure of what I wanted to do career-wise. Fortunately, as a Communications graduate, I was well equipped to take risks before finding my path. I worked initially as a site manager for an online retailer, which was a valuable first stepping stone. Still searching, I ventured into a start-up company with a family friend. Working in small business allowed me to wear many hats, doing everything from managing a staff to marketing and production. I enjoyed working with people. This was the moment I realized I had made the right decision in choosing Communications as my major.
After proposing to my wife (Paige Woodward Wiseman, USD ’03) I realized that being adventurous in job choices doesn’t necessarily provide what I needed: enduring stability for my future family. I was fortunate to be accepted into a Fortune 500 company. Gone were the days I looked at work as a mere job, but now as a career.
I worked at Boeing as a Procurement Agent, purchasing parts for The Space Shuttle program, the X-51 WaveRider (Hypersonic Jet), micro satellites, and cyber security programs. I was proud of my work and it’s impact on the world, and sure, I exercised bragging rights sometimes too.
I took advantage of Boeing’s Employee Development opportunities like rotation programs and process improvement teams. If there was an optional training program offered, I was there, eager to sharpen my skills and network my field. My degree in Communication provided a strong foundation for networking that I hadn’t even realized until then. I even took advantage of a program offered through Boeing to return to USD. I earned my Masters in Supply Chain Management from USD in 2008, the year my daughter Sophia was born.
I took roles in Material Program Management, Project Management, Strategic Work Placement, as well as New Business Acquisition. Additionally I was encouraged to lead a variety of process improvement teams, which I did enthusiastically. Finally, I was asked to be the Site Lead responsible for transitioning the Annapolis Junction, Maryland site to a new procurement system. I believe that my education from USD’s Communication program directly correlates with my strong communication skills. I am not perfect and surely have room for improvement, but in every one of my quarterly evaluations, I received top recognition for excellent communication skills. These are the skills that build a long-lasting career.
In my Communication classes, I learned how to effectively deliver my message, whatever that message may be. If Communication seems like a broad major, it is, but not necessarily how one might assume. The skills I learned help me reach my target audience, whether that may be a stubborn colleague or a moody wife (she gave me permission to say that). These skills act as a key to getting the most out of the people I interact with daily- my superiors, colleagues, family members, friends, and that random stranger at the coffee shop. In connecting with humanity, even just within my world, I am able to listen and use peoples’ feedback to improve projects and relationships. And anyone in business can agree that networking relies on building successful relationships.
In 2010, just after my son Oliver was born, I joined Southern California Edison, where I work as a Program Manager. I plan and assess workloads for field personnel, and communicate with cross functional teams. One of my current goals is to improve processes and tools in the Substation and Construction Program Management group. As always, my skills continue to serve me on a daily basis.
Since my time at Boeing, if there is ever a “difficult personality” within my work setting, I am assigned the challenge. Typically speaking, the “difficult” co-workers in any job are the ones who are not getting their message heard. They are misunderstood. Their needs are not being met. Without my Communication degree, I would not be able to hear their problems, assess valuable viewpoints or understand colleagues’ motivations. In my experience, everyone desires to be a valuable asset to their organization. I am able to see beyond frustrations, which helps solve problems and breaks down barriers.
I know I am an effective leader because I am able to help others be successful.
Eleven years ago I hadn’t imagined what my life would be like today. Undoubtedly, all areas of my life are richer because of what I learned at USD. Students of all backgrounds will be fortunate enough to call themselves graduates from The University of San Diego. Diverse interests and talents should be celebrated, individual lessons learned. For those undergraduate students who are as-of-yet undeclared, I would highly recommend taking a closer look into the Communication major.
You never know what doors it may open.
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