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victoria speakes
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Victoria Speakes, Carry the Torch

We recently chatted with Victoria Speakes ’07/’09. She ranks 50th in all-time outdoor conference total points scored (4). She was seventh in the 100 and 200m in 2004, and the school record holder in the 100m until 2009. Speakes was third of all-time in the 200m when she graduated. She also held the school record in the indoor 60m in 2005 and ranks second of all-time in the indoor 200m until 2008. Enjoy our Q & A with Victoria.

What do you feel is your greatest work accomplishment?
At Gartner, I was twice named Global HR Professional of the Quarter for both results and collaboration efforts with business leader.

What do you like most about the current career path you have chosen?
I enjoy being a coach and a trusted advisor with business partners to help work towards common goals.

Why did you choose Tiffin University?
It gave me such a positive feeling when touring campus and was very welcoming. The campus was inviting, the faculty was caring and interested in knowing me personally. Leaving home for the first time is a big step and Coach Croy made me feel like I made the right choice.

Do you have a favorite TU memory?
Almost every favorite memory I have includes someone from TUTF. It’s where I met my husband and my best friends.

What does being a TU graduate mean to you?
Being a TU graduate gives me a sense of pride. Belonging to this community, I have seen tremendous growth and I have also seen the impact that fellow graduates have made in their own communities. It makes me want to work hard and represent the Tiffin brand every single day so that people will remember who we are.

What life or career advice would you give to current students?
Build your personal brand and be consistent. Decide who you want to be and how you want people to perceive you. If you want to be a CEO someday, start figuring out what it will take and work on that brand image now; with how you communicate, how you dress and how you interact with those around you. This is equally important to that actual work that you do in your role because your brand is something people will remember more than the little things you may have done in a particular role.

Were you the first to attend college in your family?
Yes

Were there any moments you recall as true breakthroughs in an area of your life (did something happen that directed or re-directed your future)?
Having children changed the course of my life tremendously. It made me realized I had something bigger than me to work for and so my goals got even bigger. I want to show them that they can do anything if they work hard for it.

What are you most grateful for in your life?
I’m most grateful for my faith and the support of my husband and children. Going through the challenges of life can be difficult but with my faith and family, I am able to look at things through a positive lens.

Tiffin University is very proud that 55% of its student body are first generation college students (the first to attend college in their families). The University is also proud that many students are defined as individuals who “challenge conventional wisdom” — meaning they were possibly unlikely to succeed based on their upbringing (family or life hardships along the way).  Do you feel your story fits within the category of challenging conventional wisdom and if so, would you be willing to share below?
My family situation probably put me in a category where I should not have succeeded. My mother was a teenager when she had my siblings and me and my father was not in picture after I turned 5. My mom and grandma always stressed the importance of working hard, no matter what, and having a good education. My siblings and I all have degrees now and work exceptionally hard in our careers as a result of our mom and grandma’s upbringing.