Developing the cover of REFLECTIONS magazine is never an easy task. The editorial staff spends months creating content, then deciding on which themes to feature most prominently. In the summer 2018 edition, we decided a story package detailing the potential regional impact of SVSU’s Scott L. Carmona College of Business & Management merited front-page treatment. So, the next question was, how best to illustrate this.
Our team selected two individuals who symbolized the academic college’s impressive outcomes — recent alumnus Kevin Finley and undergraduate Danielle Slonac — and surrounded them with imagery relating to the story.
Still, we understand reader curiosity may not be satisfied by the pure symbolism of our printed edition’s cover, so REFLECTIONS in this online exclusive will offer insight into the impressive young résumés of the two individuals doing the symbolizing.
written by Kayla Eisenlord
After graduating from SVSU in May 2017, Kevin Finley set a precedent for accomplishment in both business and life.
As an accounting asset to Dow Chemical Co., Finley learned a thing or two since starting his full-time job as a financial accountant for the department of North America Financial & Statutory Accounting.
“Since graduating from college, I’ve discovered how important it is to prioritize what matters to you,” he said.
“Everyone has this idea that they can do it all if they are determined enough. I’ve learned that there are only so many hours in a day that you can dedicate to the things that are important to you. I don’t ever want to give 25 percent of myself to one thing, 50 percent to another. I want to be able to give my all to everything I do.”
While a student at SVSU, Finley earned the grades – he made the Deans’ List all 10 semesters while studying professional accountancy – and learned valuable lessons outside of the classroom while on campus.
“SVSU taught me that there’s more to life than just being smart,” he said. “Do you care about the community? Are you humble? Do you want to see others around you succeed with you?”
Finley stood out in many ways while he was an undergraduate. As a member of the Roberts Fellowship Program – a student leadership development initiative at SVSU – he built upon his leadership and academic achievement through service projects and study.
He signed up for nearly every high-profile position a student can have: he was a resident assistant, a campus tour guide, and an orientation leader, helping new students acclimate to SVSU. In 2015, he was elected to the Homecoming Court.
Finley’s drive and determination saw him serve as an accounting tutor in SVSU’s tutoring center as well as a research assistant in the Office of Institutional Research. He also worked as an intern with The Dow Chemical Co. He made such an impression during his stay that the company offered him a full-time job even before he graduated.
Now — one year after graduation — Finley remains ambitious. Currently studying to earn his Certified Public Accountant certification, he has his sights set on eventually becoming an accounting director.
And he continues to find motivation in an optimistic attitude and these words of wisdom:
“Be honest with who you are as a student leader,” Finley said. “The biggest thing I could recommend to anyone would be to pursue your passion. Even if it takes a little longer, do what makes you happy.”
written by Lauren Bell
Danielle Slonac — a triple major in business management, finance and supply chain management — demonstrates excellence in her academics, athletics and volunteerism.
The St. Clair native recently completed her final season competing for the Cardinals’ women’s tennis team, all while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.
Not only does she shine on the court and in the classroom, she also dedicates countless hours to volunteering. For these reasons and more, she was recognized for her contributions at a regional level earlier this year.
In March, she received the YWCA Emerging Leader Award for the Great Lakes Bay Region. The award is given annually to one student, aged 18 to 25, from each of the four higher education institutions in mid-Michigan. The recipients must demonstrate strong leadership skills, accomplishments, strive for the empowerment of women and practice continued commitment to the community.
Then, in May, she was invited to present her research on the geography of innovation in the autonomous vehicle industry at The Institute for Global Business Research Conference hosted by University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
“I balance my schedule between school work, athletics and volunteering by making sure I prioritize the things that are most important to me,” she said.
“My family and friends have always instilled in me the value of working hard on my academics, giving my best to my team and helping others, so I make sure to balance my time around these things first and foremost.”
Slonac also serves on SVSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and its Make-a-Wish Community Dream Day, where the tennis team painted a shelter house, and participates in free SVSU Community Youth Day tennis clinics.
She plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. on the road to becoming a business professor in higher education.