Ds Scholarship

Missy Makanui: Guiding a New Generation

After a brief period of teaching persuasion and presentation courses for undergraduates in the Department of Communication Studies at North Carolina State University, Missy McCannoy entered the world of corporate technology in the early 1990s. After 26 years, she joined Ball School of Management as a lecturer in management with a renewed commitment to helping business students thrive as they embark on their professional journeys.

Q&A with Messi Makanuy

What inspired you to pursue a career in business?

My father was a federal law enforcement agent and would often give presentations to many business and organization leaders. Oftentimes, when I visit his office, I’ll wait outside the conference room to catch a glimpse of him and the work he’s done. I eventually realized that I wanted to help people the way he did: by making complex concepts accessible and applicable to personal and professional growth — and by helping others see the potential in themselves.

What are some of the highlights of your work in the industry?

I spent 26 years of my corporate career working with SAS, which has become one of the best software analytics companies in the world, while working as a contracted leadership consultant to both public and private organizations. I have had the privilege of helping managers develop into being more effective in communicating with the achievement of company goals.

By designing and implementing leadership training programs, management training, facilitating meetings, and developing soft skills such as conflict resolution, my colleagues and I have been at the forefront of promoting and maintaining SAS’ award-winning workplace culture. Every member of an organization can thrive when the leaders of that company are effective and empathetic.

How have your industry experiences shaped your teaching philosophy at Paul?

In the company, she has helped established professionals continue to advance their careers. Now, I’m guiding students through the first phase of their career journey. I have found that the mentoring and mentoring skills I have acquired through industry apply equally to the role of a teacher in academic education.

When it comes to helping students think through new research directions, I often assert that there is a difference between “good to know” and “need to know” information. While academia and theories are important, the research must also be applicable. In the corporate world, leaders want results that can quickly translate into real-world impact for their employees or clients. I adopt this mindset whether I take Paul’s classes or advise students on their next steps during work hours. I always strive to go beyond the textbook or test definition. My goal as an educator is to provide my students with practical skills that they can apply directly in their lives, whether in their studies or as they begin their careers.

What is your advice to students who are considering a career in business?

From medicine to fashion design and everything in between, every industry requires a basic understanding of business. For example, even if you do not become a marketing manager or accountant for sales transactions, you will have to market yourself and your ideas to managers, colleagues, clients and other stakeholders throughout your career. Whether you graduate with a degree in business or not, telling stories and building real relationships will always be relevant to your role. The time you spend at Poole is an excellent opportunity to develop your interpersonal communication skills.

How do you enjoy spending your time outside the classroom?

As parents of two daughters, who are now a freshman and senior in high school, my husband, Craig, and I are trying to spend as much time as we can cherish these days, especially as our daughters grow and prepare to head off to their next adventures. I especially love this time of year, when the humidity from North Carolina dissipated, leaving us with cooler breezes and sunshine. We take family walks with our dog, Tanner, and try to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. I am also a foodie and enjoy very spicy food.

I believe that my professional and personal life should be as authentic as possible. I don’t want to be one person in the class and a different person in the house. While every space may require different types of interactions, at the end of the day both work and family revolve around relationships, and we must nurture those bonds to the best of our abilities.

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