2022 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Lori Bartlett, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)

Lori Bartlett

W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University

Age: 59

“I am an entrepreneur, a lifelong learner, wife, mother, friend and leader.”

Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona

Family Members: Husband Doug and two adult boys, Taylor and Jack

Fun fact about yourself: I am a fourth generation native of Arizona. My grandmother went to ASU when it was called Tempe Normal. She had to take a semester off in 1918 due to the flu pandemic. COVID prevailed during my school experience but technology allowed us to continue and succeed nevertheless.

Undergraduate School and Degree: BA, Chemistry – Arizona State University

Where are you currently working? I started a business in 1999 that grew to two offices and 40 employees. We sold it to GeoLogic Associates, Inc. (GLA) in 2016 and I have since been a member of the Executive Team of GLA as Vice President.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

Junior Achievement of Arizona Board member since 2020

ASU Women & Philanthropy member since 2013

Edelweiss Condominium Association Board member 2019

Sustained Collaboration project for 3 circular economy non-profits 2021

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am proud to have worked with three local nonprofits to help them explore a Sustained Collaboration. We worked with the CEO and two Board members from each organization to form a Joint Exploration Committee to assess the feasibility on a joint reuse center. The decision was made to move to the design phase of the project. I enjoyed the experience and will use it to help other nonprofits explore organizational collaborations.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I started a company over 20 years ago. The company has employed over a hundred people that I personally hired or was part of their career in some way.

I have been lucky to be able to help move employees’ careers forward through mentoring and training.  They have thrived in their careers and contributed to the community. I have worked with some of my colleagues for many years, and I have a personal connection. When they have successful careers, I am successful also.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Joan Brett was our first and most demanding professor. She set the table for our journey going forward. She expected business-like behavior and dress. Many of my classmates talk most about her Organizational Behavior class. Another favorite professor was Kevin Corley who taught us Leadership I and II which were classes that challenged our growth mindset and strengthened our leadership skills. Also, Don Lange who taught us Business Ethics and walked us through business situations that are difficult. All of these classes did not involve spreadsheets and absolutely right answers which is why they were the most challenging.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? Not only is my undergraduate degree from ASU, but I have been a part of ASU’s Women & Philanthropy group since 2013. Through them, I have seen what an amazing, innovative university that ASU is. The foundation ‘empowers the future generation of changemakers and fuels solutions to our community’s most pressing problems.’ The EMBA program is part of that innovation and change. It gives me hope for the future and for my personal future.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? All of the projects that we did in the program related to work in some way. We would be in class on the weekend and on Monday I would be implementing what I learned at work. The biggest lesson related to solving an adaptive leadership issue. I am working through the change with a work project team that is in need of succession planning but there are personality and political issues to overcome. I have been given a framework from class to help the team and it is working!

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? Before starting the program, I was traveling every week for work. I thought the airport time would be dedicated to homework instead of work spreadsheets. However, as I started the program in 2020, the world changed. Travel ceased and Zoom meetings were scheduled in a frenzy. You could meet ten times more in a day than before and with time zones the workday often extended. I started waking up at 4:30 am to get in a few hours of homework before the day began. My boys are grown and no longer live with us, so I found it astounding how my fellow students with little children at home could juggle parenting and school. They are an amazing group of people!

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? I would highly recommend the EMBA program. It enriches your current work while giving you an added superpower.  The program enforces your leadership skills and erases your doubt. Take the leap!

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? I obviously waited a long time before returning to school. In discussing the return with colleagues, they all said that it would be too hard for them to go back at this stage in life. I am always learning and exploring and this program was fantastic in that respect! The program strengthened my business acumen and gave me confidence for a future endeavor.  It can be done.

What was your biggest regret in business school? The biggest regret was that due to COVID, we could not go on our trip to Washington DC to meet in person the interesting speakers offered and to bond with my cohort. We did go on the international practicum trip to Dublin, Ireland. However, again due to COVID, the trip became limited. I was looking forward to the Irish consulting project. I will likely volunteer time in the future to help the Irish startups with business issues.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Alex Lorbiecki. She started the program from her home in Wisconsin. Midway through the program, Alex and her husband moved to Arizona. The last semester she had a baby and last month she started a new position in her company. She did it all with confidence and poise. She is articulate, a team player and understands the material. With all those stressful changes in life she aced the program!

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? The Executive MBA is tailored for someone like myself that has practical experience, but is always open to learning something new. Additionally, it takes into account that you are a working executive and is tailored to your time commitments and goals.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal?  My long-term professional goal is to help business owners understand their businesses and to create a better community by leveraging my professional experience to connect, facilitate and build. I want to continue being a lifelong learner and to work with those that foster an educational mission that will make a positive impact on our community.

What made Lori such an invaluable addition to the class of 2022?

“Lori has been an academic leader in our program, achieving the highest marks for her coursework and often assisting others in her cohort as they struggle with new concepts. Lori is a proven entrepreneur and business leader and is frequently engaged in various aspects of community service. She has effectively incorporated her experiences into our classroom to enrich our discussions and provide a seasoned perspective on business decision making. More importantly, Lori Bartlett has been leader for her class. She has provided a strong and steady sense of purpose for colleagues in the face of a difficult job market and lingering COVID uncertainty, and students often seek her counsel when facing difficult decisions. I am very proud of Lori’s accomplishments in the W. P. Carey EMBA program, and I know that she will be an exemplary representative for the W. P. Carey Executive MBA as an alumna.”

Tom Bates, Associate Professor
W. P. Carey Finance
Dean’s Council of 100 Distinguished Scholar
EMBA Faculty Director

DON’T MISS: THE BEST & BRIGHTEST EXECUTIVE MBAS OF 2022

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