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Mary Dugenske

Mary Dugenske

VP, Consumer Experience | Alight Solutions

The more time that goes by, the more Mary Dugenske realizes just how good she had it at Illinois.

“While most of us didn’t adequately appreciate it at the time, we received countless gifts from world-class, passionate and patient educators,” the Gies College of Business grad days from Atlanta.

“I wish I could go back in time and thank each of them for the profound and lasting impact they’ve had on my career and my life. Now that I’ve experienced a myriad of workplace cultures, I marvel even more at how our instructors sustained their motivation, despite being greeted each day by our generally tired, sometimes frostbitten and occasionally hungover faces.

“That made selecting the individual who had the greatest impact on me a challenge – and, I’m embarrassed to admit, that I recall her powerful lessons, but not her name. As a teaching assistant for Introduction to Business & Technical Writing, she had the unenviable job of trying to shift her students’ perspectives from our often myopic selves to that of our audience.

“She patiently but firmly instilled the discipline of having a ‘You Attitude’ in all my communications – to put my audience’s concerns before my own needs. A ‘You Attitude’ served me well not only in my initial job search, but also throughout my marketing and communication career.

“Over the years, I’ve implemented the ‘You Attitude’ concept across my project and work teams, and it continues to guide my approach not only to business communication, but to how I live my life.

“To the U of I instructors who look out on that sea of often expressionless faces and wonder if you’re making a difference, please know that you are.”