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Ashley (Wiswell) Keck, '09

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

Company: Chaminade University of Honolulu, School of Nursing

Position: Program Coordinator

About Your Company: Chaminade University of Honolulu is a small, private, Catholic Marianist University on Oahu. The School of Nursing was officially started in 2009 with the dean, Dr. Stephanie Genz, and me (Ashley Wiswell). Together we received unanimous approval from the Hawaii State Board of Nursing for all four phases of program development. The School of Nursing is a first year, direct-entry BSN program with a curriculum that focuses primarily on the care of the Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations and aging populations.

How do you define entrepreneurship?

Put simply, entrepreneurship means innovation and change. More specifically, entrepreneurship can be as big as creating something entirely new, never seen before, as intricate as changing the process in which something is done, and everywhere in between.

How did the entrepreneurship program at Ball State help you obtain your current position?

The entrepreneurship program at Ball State helped me obtain my current position because the program taught me how to be completely self-sufficient in my learning. We were required to dig up the problems and find the solutions for the biggest holes in our business plans, and then ask for help, but we had to show the initiative and determination. Also, the mentorship that took place between classmates and faculty created an environment for success. The greatest advice I was given, "Do not pass up any opportunity. There is no reason not to try the great things that come your way, so take big risks and be excited about them." These experiences gave me the credibility and the state of mind, "I can do anything." Additionally, the program fueled my passion for change and innovation, which was the quality my current boss was searching for in an applicant. While I had no actual work experience, she believed that because I managed to write a comprehensive business plan of large scale in one semester and pass with such high remarks that I was the perfect person to have by her side in the creation of a brand new major and division for the university with a passion that matched her own (mine in creation and innovation, and hers in nursing and education). Because of the entrepreneurship program, I was not just a bachelor's degree holder, I was a competent, prepared professional ready for my first real challenge.

What is your greatest memory of the entrepreneurship program at Ball State?

The most memorable experience I had from the entrepreneurship program was when Dr. Goldsby took us all to Climb Time at the end of my junior year. While it was early on in the program, it was monumental because it set the tone for our relationship with him. Having the director of the program so invested in us beyond the classroom is something that completely justified my coming to Ball State for entrepreneurship. He brought up concepts throughout the day that had double meaning, whether it was intentional or not. I thought back on that day many times during the capstone course, and along with the continued guidance and encouragement from the whole faculty and staff, helped me through. First impressions do matter, and his sincere interest in getting us to build relationships and look at things from every possible angle was planted deep within us because of that day.