Megan Caton knew a degree would earn her the opportunity to move up the ladder and make a difference in her career. As she sought out a leadership position, Caton researched schools and landed on Columbia Southern University. In no time, she had earned her master’s degree in human resource management. After she graduated, Caton found something that was just as valuable as her diploma—her confidence. Now, it is her mission to help others find theirs.
“The most important thing that I would like to share is the degree is important, but I believe that the confidence I was able to build from the program is the key to success,” said Caton. “I feel I lacked self-confidence because I was in my thirties returning to school and my classes would all be online. Both intimidated me, but once I completed my first course, I felt more confident in myself.”
Caton took her newfound confidence and began serving on the board of directors for “Village of Hope”, a non-profit organization that provides a transitional living program and home for at-risk women and children struggling with homelessness.
“Women accepted into the Village of Hope come from all walks of life,” she said. “Many come from backgrounds of homelessness, domestic violence and/or financial deprivation.”
Village of Hope participants work with a case manager to establish a written, time-oriented plan for achieving self-sufficiency. The also have access to life skills, educational workshops and community resources related to mental health counseling, job skills training and higher education to help them become productive members of society.
As families came in, Caton knew confidence was more than likely last on their list of concerns. In efforts to help build these women up, she began sharing her story and mentoring them. After all, Caton now had a master’s degree in human resource management, and she was ready to use it.
“I feel better qualified to work with the women in the Village of Hope program especially with mentoring women on budgeting and the need for higher education to increase their earning potentials and succeed in life,” she said.
One resident of the organization Caton is mentoring was inspired by her CSU journey and has made it a goal of her own to pursue a degree.
“The resident I am mentoring is a mother of three. I told her my story of how I waited 11 years to return to school. I explained to her that I was nervous at first but once I was started my classes, I realized I was ready for the challenge—and, she will be, to,” said Caton.
Outside of her work at the Village of Hope, Caton says earning her degree at CSU has been beneficial in other aspects of her career.
“The degree itself has opened doors for me for employment opportunities. I was able to expand my knowledge and my degree gave me the confidence to apply for a leadership position with a new company. I have just accepted my new position in a leadership role—with a higher salary!”
Caton’s journey is proof of how important the role of confidence plays in one’s professional and personal life. Because of what she gained while earning her degree, others have been impacted to have faith in themselves no matter their current or former circumstances.