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Northeastern University

Dr. Cheryl Davis Jordan, BA’76

Dr. Davis Jordan sees her four co-ops and the jobs that came after as a bit like the pieces of a puzzle: each was essential, but she wasn't quite sure what they were leading up to until she'd put them all together and looked at the whole picture.

After a career at General Electric during the Jack Welch era as a manager of marketing communications, Davis Jordan struck out on her own as a marketing communications consultant to federal agencies, public utilities, and corporations.

In 1998 she switched gears, leveraging what she'd learned during her co-ops and jobs to found her own executive coaching business, Color Outside the Lines (www.coloroutside.com). These days, she's hired by organizations to help people improve their leadership skills.

"These are highly competent individuals who desire to be even better. My communications experience plays a pivotal role in my capacity to ask my clients the right questions, not to provide the answers. This approach ensures that my clients ‘own' the decisions made about their continued growth and development," says Davis Jordan, who studied journalism at Northeastern and went on to earn master's and doctorate degrees in management.

Davis Jordan did four different co-ops at Northeastern: she worked in the classifieds department at The Boston Globe, trained to be a buyer for Filene's, worked in the communications office of the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C., and reviewed books to determine appropriate sorting codes for the Library of Congress.

The experiences felt disparate to Davis Jordan, but by the end of her time at Northeastern they'd helped her determine her career path. She knew she wanted to work in communications in the business world, and she knew she wanted to help people improve their lives. "The common theme was that I liked seeing that I could help make someone's life better. I didn't set out to do that, but I was attracted to jobs that would allow me to do that."

Davis Jordan, who helps her clients look beyond the obvious to build their professional skills, sees the co-op program as essential to her own success. "How great is it to be able to learn in the classroom and to apply that learning right away? To me that was worth the tuition. I really got a head start on my peers who didn't go to Northeastern."

And what's her advice to current Northeastern students? Use the co-op program to "mix it up and explore beyond your major. The people who bring a breadth of skills, they are the ones who are most attractive to an organization. Additionally, hone your interpersonal skills. They are needed for success in any career."

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