A Resilient Leader – Dana Oliver

With standout communication skills and a deep reservoir of resilience, Wings student Dana Oliver, ’19, drew on both characteristics while earning her degree as an adult student at Meredith.

“I am known to have grit, the ability to endure, during the challenging times in my life. This endurance has caused me to strive to make an impact in my sphere of influence in my community,” said Dana.

Dana made the most of her Meredith experience, working to develop her natural strengths and build on her professional and life experience. She engaged in the Sophie Lanneau Women’s Leadership Development program and took part in strengths-building activities through StrongPoints®, Meredith’s advising and personal coaching program.

“Attending Meredith gave me the opportunity to enrich my communication skills and the self-assurance to connect with people,” said Dana. “The combination of strengthening my leadership abilities and knowing my strengths through StrongPoints has increased my confidence.”

She was invited to use those strong communication skills on multiple occasions. She was invited to speak to Meredith’s Board of Trustees as part of a student panel, sharing her perspective on the benefits of StrongPoints and how she uses her strengths in her daily life. She also served as the student representative for the Wings program when the Jesse Ball duPont Fund Foundation visited campus.

Dana praised Meredith faculty and staff for supporting her throughout her college journey.

“The old saying ‘I got your back’ is not just a cliché at Meredith. I feel each instructor assisted me and gave me opportunities to not only broaden my thinking but keys to succeed.”

According to Dana, that backing was critical to her success – especially because she had not been in an academic setting for more than 20 years.

A family and consumer sciences major, Dana enjoyed working with all of the faculty and staff in her major program, particularly Professor of Human Environmental Sciences Deborah Tippett.

“In my Global Perspective class, Dr. Tippett developed a passion within me for missions that I never had and now I’m connected with Embrace Uganda as a volunteer.”

Wings Director Tom Manning has been another source of support for Dana.

“He helped me through my journey here at Meredith in such an incredible way,” said Dana. “When I came to talk to him about starting at Meredith he began supporting me from that point and he never stopped. When things were difficult he found a way to cheer me up and keep my focus.”

Dana also appreciated the unique experience of attending a women’s college.

“The overall focus of Meredith is developing every woman to stand toe to toe with a man and be his equal and not be intimidated in any situation,” said Dana.

After graduation, Dana plans to explore how she can make a positive impact on her new community of Clayton, N.C., working in partnership with the Town Council. She hopes to eventually establish a social entrepreneurship program to mentor young women who have been abused.

She is confident in her ability to bring about the changes she envisions.

“I will leave Meredith open to exploring new concepts because I have new passions and the wisdom to develop these concepts.