Georgiana Simmons, Avanos Medical, graduate of Georgia College’s online Master of LSCM

When it comes to going back to school and getting that business-related masters degree, fear can be a deterrent. Finding time amidst a busy life can be a daunting proposition. And this week’s guest did it despite being a single mother and working two jobs at the time. Georgiana Simmons, a project manager in supply chain operations at Avanos Medical, explains how she did it and the ways she applies her degree in her career.

Transcript of Show

Speaker 1: 00:02
It’s time for Lenz on Business, with Richard Lenz, on News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB, presented by Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business, exploring Atlanta’s business leader’s inspiring stories, lessons learned, and tips for growth and success.

Jon W: 00:23
When it comes to going back to school to get that business related master’s degree, fear can be a deterrent. Finding the time amidst a busy life in the real world can be a daunting proposition, but this week’s guest did it despite being a single mother and working two jobs at the same time. Welcome to Lenz on Business Business Talk on WSB presented by Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business. I’m guest host Jon Waterhouse and please welcome to the WSB studio Georgiana Simmons. She’s a project manager in supply chain operations at Avanos Medical. Now Avanos Medical Inc is a medical technology company focusing on delivering clinical medical device solutions. Georgiana received her Master of Logistics and Supply Chain Management via Georgia College’s online program and you can learn more about that program at makeyournextmove.org. Georgiana welcome to the show.

Georgiana: 01:26
Thank you for having me, Jon.

Jon W: 01:28
Thank you so much for coming. It’s great to see you. What do you think about Atlanta traffic? I know you had quite a distance to come.

Georgiana: 01:35
Well I did, but thank God it’s summer. School’s out. So it was a little easier today, but yes, it still took me an hour.

Jon W: 01:44
Oh my goodness. Atlanta traffic. Well speaking of your undergraduate degree, we were talking about your graduate degree, but let’s talk about your undergraduate degree. You got that in 2007 and almost a decade later you decided to go back to school. And many students opt for a master’s just a handful of years after their undergraduate experience. Any reason for the wait?

Georgiana: 02:10
Yes. So being the sole income breadwinner for a household of four, finances actually was in the back of my brain. How was I going to be able to afford to go back to school while also paying off the education loans that I inquired for my bachelor’s degrees? So yes, and also life happened where I was working two jobs and I was raising two teenagers in the household. So they needed me. But it was always my desire to go back to school and get my master’s degree. And in 2007 when I got my bachelor’s degree, I was working in the mortgage industry and we all know what happened in 2007 in the mortgage industry. And I was determined not to go back. So I started in a new industry. I got the opportunity to work for a molecular biology lab in Buford, Georgia. And my sole role was to source materials for product that was in development. And so that’s what introduced me to supply chain management at that time. And that became my passion.

Georgiana: 03:32
So I started looking for other supply chain management roles, and I was very fortunate to begin a career with Kimberly Clark Corporation, which is off of Roswell Road, which is, Avanos is also formerly known as Kimberly Clark Health Care, and started in distribution for Kimberly Clark. So I went from sourcing to distribution and I was like, wow, there’s so many more elements and facets to supply chain management and I just want to learn more. So I worked my way up in Kimberly Clark into Kimberly Clark Health Care and pursued certification in supply chain management and was introduced to APICS, it’s the leader or organization in certification and supply chain management and they referred me to Georgia College to get my master’s degree.

Georgiana: 04:35
I think I was just ready. I was paying for certification online through organizations like APICS and was doing a search. APICS offers publications and they offer information that’s recent to the industry and there happened to be an advertisement on the top 10 schools in the country for supply chain management and of course the worry about how I was going to finance that of course was the overall concern for me. But as I was looking at the top 10 schools, the one that stood out was Georgia College. It wasn’t just that it was the oldest supply chain management school in Georgia, but it was also a liberal arts school that was affordable. And I did more research, I actually reached out to Georgia College and asked them how much the program was and I was very shocked by the low price or inexpensive cost of the program, and that it was considered one of the top 10 schools even though. So that is what drove me to get my degree.

Jon W: 05:59
Folks you’re listening to Lenz on Business here on WSB presented by Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business, Georgia’s public liberal arts university. And don’t forget you can get your MBA, Master of Logistics or Master of Management Information Systems online, and GMAT waivers are available. Visit makeyournextmove.org and simply complete the form to get started.

Jon W: 06:26
I am guest host Jon Waterhouse and this week we’re talking with Georgiana Simmons. She is a graduate of Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business. She received her Masters in Supply Chain Management, actually Logistics and Supply Chain Management. She currently works at Avanos Medical in supply chain operations.

Jon W: 06:50
Now Georgiana you were talking about choosing Georgia College for your master’s degree and its online program. Now, did you have any preconceived notions of online learning?

Georgiana: 07:05
I did. I did things a little backwards in life. I’ve also been blessed with many opportunities. I had my first child at the age of 19 and I was still insisting on getting an education. So I got accepted to the University of Georgia and I was taking classes the traditional way, but I was also taking care of an infant and it became apparent that it was going to be harder than I thought it was.

Georgiana: 07:45
Life happened, so I had to drop school at that time and pursue being a mother and also I needed to work. I needed to bring an income to the family. So I turned 30 years old and realized I still had not received my bachelor’s degree, but realized that online learning had become very popular. It was gaining more, like I said, it was becoming more popular. So I pursued an online learning degree at that time and three years later I had a bachelor’s degree in business and learned very quickly what it was going to take to be in an online environment. It’s not easy, but it affords you the flexibility to be able to work, care for your children, and pursue your dream of a degree.

Jon W: 08:52
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of online learning and what you took away from that at your Georgia College experience.

Georgiana: 09:02
I’m going to speak more to the pros than the cons. Their pros was that I was able to work it into my schedule. We still had deadlines, we still had assignments to do, we still had quizzes, we still had tests, but I was able to go to work, my nine to five job, still be able to take care of my kids, and set aside that time every day to study. And also I learned how to use my resources at the college as well as my professors, I was able to communicate with them either by phone or through a Skype meeting. So those were definitely the pros.

Georgiana: 09:55
Do I feel like I got the same value of education? Absolutely. I know what the in-class environment is like, and I know what the online environment is like. And I’m going to say that it’s not different at all.

Jon W: 10:11
And let’s talk about some of the technology that they have in place that you’re able to utilize during your studies.

Georgiana: 10:18
So each school is different. They each have their own technology as far as classroom time online. So some use Skype or some use their own technology or software that they built so that you can actually interact face-to-face with your professors and also with your classmates. So they would set aside some time or you could schedule time with your professor. The technology also included their library that was virtual. There was resources that each class would provide to you to make you successful in your learning and in your courses.

Jon W: 11:03
Folks, if you’re just tuning in to Lenz on Business, we’re chatting with Georgiana Simmons, she’s a graduate of Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business.

Jon W: 11:13
Now Georgiana we have less than a minute left in this segment, but I want to talk about how you applied your degree, how you apply your degree currently at Avanos Medical. Can you kind of start that and then we’ll finish it up in the next segment?

Georgiana: 11:27
Absolutely. Supply chain management, there are a lot of pieces to supply chain management that I have learned and I am still learning today. And what interests me about supply chain management, when I was in sourcing, I was sourcing raw materials. My interest is how do we now transform those raw materials into finished goods that customers actually want.

Jon W: 11:56
Well, we’re going to learn more about how you apply your knowledge that you learned at Georgia College in your current position at Avanos Medical.

Jon W: 12:03
Folks, you’re listening to Lenz on Business. I’m guest host, Jon Waterhouse. Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business offers top ranked online graduate business programs, including MBA, Master of Logistics and Supply Chain Management and Master of Management Information Systems. Learn more at gcsu.edu/business. We’ll be back with more Lenz on Business in just a few moments.
Richard L:
12:31
Hi, this is Richard Lenz and you’re listening to Lenz on Business, presented by Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business. Visit them at gcsu.edu/business. Again, that’s gcsu.edu/business.

Jon W: 13:09
We’re back at you with more business talk here on WSB with Lenz on Business, presented by Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business. I’m guest host Jon Waterhouse and our special guest this week is Georgiana Simmons. She’s a project manager in supply chain operations at Avanos Medical. Georgiana received her Master of Logistics and Supply Chain Management via Georgia College’s online program. And you can learn more about that program at makeyournextmove.org.

Jon W: 13:32
Now Georgiana could you give us the lay person’s definition of supply chain operations, supply chain management?

Georgiana: 13:41
Okay, so supply chain management, the actual definition is the flow of goods and services to the consumer. What supply chain management means to me and my role is getting the right product to the right place at the right time to the right person. That is what supply chain management is.

Jon W: 14:07
And as I mentioned earlier, you received your Master of Logistics and Supply Chain Management via Georgia College’s online program. And we were talking just before the break, how do you apply what you learned at the program, through the program, in your current job?

Georgiana: 14:25
Absolutely. So first let’s talk about the courses of supply chain management at Georgia College. It divides each section or the logistics of supply chain management and gives you a very in-depth look of strategies as well as principles of each section of supply chain management. So from project management to procurement with Dr. Monroe, who is the president of the program, to distribution strategies as well as warehousing and location strategies.

Georgiana: 15:16
So how I apply all of that learning to my position is I try to find those bottlenecks or I try to assist with increasing our ability to flow goods faster, and bring to customers what they want quicker. So that’s how I apply my learnings to supply chain management in my role.

Jon W: 15:47
Any particular course that really stood out to you that you feel like you draw upon the most?

Georgiana: 15:54
There’s actually two that come to mind. The first one is the procurement or raw material section that we had with Carl Monroe, and it was how to work with your suppliers, with raw materials, and your relationships with your suppliers, how to make it a win-win situation for you as the consumer and the supplier, as well as a distribution course that gave us an understanding of inventory and the strategies of inventory.

Jon W: 16:36
Interesting stuff here on Lenz on Business, presented by Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business, Georgia’s public liberal arts university. Don’t forget you can get your MBA, Master of Logistics or Master of Management Information Systems online and GMAT waivers are available. Visit makeyournextmove.org and complete that form to get started.

Jon W: 16:58
I’m guest host Jon Waterhouse and this week we’re chatting with Georgiana Simmons. She’s a graduate of Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business online program. We’re going to be hearing more from Georgiana and more Lenz on Business after news, weather and traffic right here on WSB.
Richard L:
17:20
Hi, this is Richard Lenz and you’re listening to Lenz on Business, presented by Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business. Visit them at gcsu.edu/business. Again, that’s gcsu.edu/business.

Jon W: 17:45
Welcome back to Lenz on Business. I’m guest host Jon Waterhouse with more business talk for you. Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business offers top ranked online graduate business programs including MBA, Master of Logistics and Supply Chain Management and Master of Management Information Systems. You can learn more at gcsu.edu/business.

Jon W: 18:11
And if you’re just tuning in to the program this week we’re chatting with Georgiana Simmons. She’s a project manager in supply chain operations at Avanos Medical. The company Avanos Medical is a medical technology business focusing on delivering clinical medical device solutions. Georgiana received her master of logistics and supply chain management via Georgia College’s online program and you can learn more about that program at makeyournextmove.org.

Jon W: 18:41
Now Georgiana earlier in the program we were talking about the reason that you went back to school, the reason you went after your master’s degree and partial reason, it had to do with finances. You were a single parent and at the time in which you were attaining your master’s via Georgia College, you were working two jobs, experiencing a 70-hour work week, you told me this off the air, and you were able to fit in a graduate programs somehow.

Georgiana: 19:17
And that is the flexibility of online learning. That’s what it was able to afford me, was the ability to work it in. I definitely got less sleep during the 24-month program. However, it was that drive, it was wanting that master’s degree that drove me to successfully getting a 4.0 in my master’s program.

Jon W: 19:48
Congratulations.

Georgiana: 19:49
Yeah, thank you. Even with a 70-hour work week. I was fortunate, however, that my weekend job was a role where I was able to have my computer on the side and work on school while I was working. So I was working while I was working basically. But I do have to say that you have to discipline yourself. A robust discipline. You have to put yourself on a schedule. The way that the classes are structured is, you have reading that you have to do each week and there’s a lot of reading, there’s a lot of writing that you have to do for each week, there are quizzes and there are tests scheduled throughout, and there is also discussion posts. So that is the time that you go online and you discuss with other students the topics or that week’s readings, and there is a minimum set of requirements that you are to go on on there and not just post any discussion but something that is worthy of a grade.

Georgiana: 21:09
And so I had to set aside a schedule for myself at the beginning of each semester and say, okay, at this hour, at 5:00 in the morning I was going to get up and I was going to spend 30 minutes on discussion boards, and then I was gonna get ready and go to work, and then after work I was going to spend another hour on the reading. There were times where I would bring my lunch to work and so I could eat lunch at my desk as well as go online and again add more content to the discussion posts as well as study for quizzes.

Georgiana: 21:50
So I would say that Monday through Friday I was spending anywhere from two to two and a half hours of online work and then about-

Jon W: 22:03
Per day?

Georgiana: 22:04
Per day. And then on Saturday probably another four to five hours, and then Sunday I would take off.

Jon W: 22:10
Okay.

Georgiana: 22:11
Yep.

Jon W: 22:11
So you did have that day off, which is important to have our rest.

Georgiana: 22:13
I did have that day off, yeah.

Georgiana: 22:16
Absolutely. I was still working my second job on Sundays, but at least I was not looking at schoolwork on Sunday cause I did have to have some reprieve from that. But yes, I had to create a schedule for myself and stick to it or it was not going to work.

Jon W: 22:33
Wow. That’s impressive Georgiana.

Georgiana: 22:35
Thank you.

Jon W: 22:36
Folks you are listening to Lenz on Business presented by Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business, Georgia’s public liberal arts university. And don’t forget you can get your MBA, Master of Logistics or Master of Management Information Systems online and GMAT waivers are available. Visit makeyournextmove.org and complete the form to get started.

Jon W: 22:58
I’m guest host Jon Waterhouse. This week we’re chatting with Georgiana Simmons. She’s a graduate of Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business online program.

Jon W: 23:09
Now Georgiana, you were talking about the flexibility of online learning, and that helped you a lot in attaining this degree, but you had a 70-hour work week, which is really intense, and I can’t see how you did it. You explained how you did it. I don’t see how you did it. But on top of that, you’re a parent, a parent of four, and as a parent, I can’t imagine being a single parent, which you were at the time and doing all of this, working 70 hours a week, going back to school. Being a parent is a full time job, so basically you had three full time jobs.

Georgiana: 23:50
Yes.

Jon W: 23:51
So let’s talk about how you balanced parenting amidst this.

Georgiana: 23:56
Okay. So just I want to clarify. I actually have three children [crosstalk 00:24:02] in the household, four people in the house.

Jon W: 24:04
Oh four people in the household?

Georgiana: 24:06
Yes.

Jon W: 24:07
Okay, Gotcha, Gotcha.

Georgiana: 24:07
So I was fortunate that at the time that I decided to go back to school, my kids were teenagers and they were self sufficient. They were in high school and they were entering into college themselves. So it became a competition between my son and myself, who was going to graduate first. And fortunately he made it to the finish line before me. He got his Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology, and then I graduated a year later. So it made it very easy for me to pursue my master’s degree at that time cause it was just the right timing.

Jon W: 24:48
Oh, that’s nice.

Georgiana: 24:48
Yeah, absolutely. But yes, still trying to hold down a job and help him pay for college and help myself pay for college as well as maintain a household of four people, keep the bills paid. And also my role requires about 40% travel and most of that being out of the country. Yes, it was definitely hard, but like I said, I disciplined myself, put myself on a schedule to make sure that I obtained the dream of getting a master’s degree.

Georgiana: 25:24
And I think the most important thing I’ve not revealed here is I wanted to be relevant in my industry. I found a passion for an industry that I wanted to stay in. I want to retire in supply chain management regardless of what portion, whether it was in raw material purchasing, manufacturing, or if it’s in distribution, I wanted to stay relevant in that industry, and so getting an APICS certification wasn’t enough for me, pursuing a master’s degree was more important. So that is the drive regardless of the 70 hours a week, and raising children in the home, that was the drive.

Jon W: 26:05
Where does that passion come from, supply chain management?

Georgiana: 26:10
I think it was being given the opportunity to source raw materials for a very important device that was being developed in a molecular biology lab that I was working in. I found out I loved the industry, but I also found out that I loved the work. Pursuing my dream to help in the healthcare industry one way or another, whether it was supply chain management, it was satisfaction for me. And now at Avanos Medical, I’m doing the same thing. I am assisting Avanos Medical to develop and to manufacture medical devices for patients that need closed-suction catheters in respiratory care, or they need MIC, which is a household name in digestive care, it’s a feeding tube, or for pain management, acute and chronic care, our household names are ON-Q Cue, I’m sorry, and COOLIEF. So that’s what keeps me in this industry and also keeps me in supply chain management, is bringing to patients the products that they need on time.

Jon W: 27:28
That’s a noble cause.

Georgiana: 27:29
Yep.

Jon W: 27:30
Folks, if you’re just tuning in to Lenz on Business, we’re chatting with Georgiana Simmons. She’s a graduate of Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business online program, and she currently works for Avanos Medical. She’s a project manager in supply chain operations.

Jon W: 27:47
And we were talking earlier about balancing parenting amidst working, amidst going back to school, et cetera, and you said one of your children was actually in college at the time?

Georgiana: 28:00
Yes.

Jon W: 28:00
Or started college, kind of started simultaneously almost?

Georgiana: 28:04
Yes.

Jon W: 28:04
And that had to bring some camaraderie between the two of you. I know you said there were some friendly competition, but I imagine that you said this all kind of happened at the right time. This was the right time for you to go back to school. I think a byproduct of that, it may have brought you two closer together, did it?

Georgiana: 28:21
Oh yeah, absolutely. Financially it may not have been the right time, but yeah, as far as my ability to now have a little more time for myself, this was the right time. And my son going to school, I was going through some of the same pains that he was going through. That first two years of your bachelor’s degree, you just don’t understand why you’re there and what the path is going to be. But yes, it was a blessing.

Jon W: 28:51
That’s great stuff. We are talking with Georgiana Simmons, a graduate of Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business, and we’re going to be learning more from her just after the break. Don’t forget folks marketing matters and Lenz knows marketing, from brand strategy to advertising, digital marketing to public relations. Think smart. Think creative. Think Lenz. Learn more at lenzmarketing.com. And you’re listening to the Lenz on Business here on WSB. I’m guest host Jon Waterhouse. We’ll be back in just a few moments.
Richard L:
29:30
Hi, this is Richard Lenz and you’re listening to Lenz on Business presented by Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business. Visit them at gcsu.edu/business. Again, that’s gcsu.edu/business.

Jon W: 29:58
We’re back with more business talk here on WSB. You’re listening to Lenz on Business, presented by the J Whitney Bunting College of Business at Georgia College. Georgia’s public liberal arts university. I’m guest host, Jon Waterhouse and today we’ve been chatting with Georgiana Simmons. She’s a project manager in supply chain operations at Avanos Medical, and the company Avanos Medical is a medical technology company focusing on delivering clinical medical device solutions. Georgiana received her Master of Logistics and Supply Chain Management via Georgia College’s online program. Learn more about that program at makeyournextmove.org.

Jon W: 30:39
Now Georgiana, let’s talk about the experience at Georgia College. You were talking about some of the courses earlier. Are there any stand out instructors or mentors that you met along the way?

Georgiana: 30:54
Professor Monroe, definitely, I think I’m saying his name wrong, Monroe, he is definitely memorable in the fact that he’s very passionate about supply chain management, and in particular he’s passionate about your relationships with your suppliers and how that does affect your ability to meet your customer’s expectations while putting strategies in place to make money.

Georgiana: 31:24
But if there was one supportive professor at Georgia College, it would have to be Peter Moore. Peter Moore had a couple of courses that he actually taught in supply chain management, but it was the project management course that I use today in my role. But he was a mentor and he’s been a champion since I have graduated. And I still look to him for advice. He offered the tools, he offered the knowledge and the principles behind project management in supply chain management, that is, I believe, will make me very successful.

Jon W: 32:10
So you have the ability to reach out to him when you have questions?

Georgiana: 32:14
Absolutely. All of them, they are all available. I can’t think of one that I wouldn’t be able to reach out to, to maybe run a question by or get their thoughts.

Jon W: 32:26
And the fellow students, the fellow graduates that you experienced this program with in your cohort, any relationships there that have continued post-graduation?

Georgiana: 32:36
Yup. So thank God for social media, because we’re all connected on LinkedIn. I think each cohort stays very close. They reach out whenever something new is happening in life, whether somebody’s got a new job or there’s a new job opening, they’re going to offer it to their comrades first, which is very nice. But yes, I do speak to a few of the students on a regular basis cause I just want to know how they’re doing in the industry and if I can ever offer any help or assistance in finding a role that they really want to be in.

Jon W: 33:16
Well Georgiana thank you so much for coming on the show this week. As I mentioned earlier, she is a project manager in supply chain operations at Avanos Medical. Thank you Georgiana again.

Georgiana: 33:28
Thank you Jon.

Jon W: 33:30
Lenz on Business is brought to you by Chris Burns and Dynamic Money Financial Planning. Let Chris and his team help build your financial future. Visit dynamicmoney.com. And make sure and check out our website for our library of past shows at lenzonbusiness.com. That’s lenzonbusiness.com. And the whole shebang is sponsored by Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business, Georgia’s public liberal arts university. You can get your MBA, Master of Logistics or Master of Management Information Systems online. GMAT waivers are available. Visit makeyournextmove.org. I’m Jon Waterhouse, we’ll catch you next time on Lenz on Business.

Richard L:
34:18
Hi, this is Richard Lenz and you’re listening to Lenz on Business, presented by Georgia College’s J Whitney Bunting College of Business. Visit them at gcsu.edu/business. Again, that’s gcsu.edu/business.