Rettker Focuses on Changing Work Environment and Encourages Graduates to Keep Growing during the 2019 SGSC Waycross Campus Commencement Ceremony
While some individuals think graduation is a final step in their education process, SGSC’s 2019 Commencement speaker on the Waycross Campus, Ms. Sarah Rettker, encouraged graduates to keep learning and evolving in order to succeed.
Ms. Rettker currently serves as Vice President of Investor Engagement for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce where she manages business and community relationships across the state. With over 47,000 members, this statewide organization works to keep, grow and create jobs to make Georgia a better state for business.
Rettker shared how she sees firsthand in her work how many businesses fall behind when they fail to innovate or keep up with new advances in technology to meet customer demands. She also reflected on her career path, and used several personal examples of how new opportunities came about along her path, and how she learned to pivot, to adapt, and to grow along the way.
“Never stop learning, unlearning, and relearning,” Rettker stated. “We are moving into an unprecedented and unpredictable future where you must challenge yourself to continue to gain new skills, to meet new people, and to embrace positive discomfort in order to evolve and to advance your career. Your skills, your perspective, and your disposition are important and will help you become a success not only in your career, but also in your life.”
In her specific role, Rettker is working to advance initiatives around the importance of diversity and inclusion and corporate social responsibility for company performance. She went on to comment, “No matter where you go, look for opportunities to learn from those around you, and surround yourself with people who have different views or different backgrounds. When we listen, learn and celebrate our similarities and differences, we become wiser and we make better decisions.”
Rettker concluded by saying, “The world is starving for new ideas and new leaders.” She encouraged the graduates to make their mark in their community and help boost economic development efforts.
Also during the ceremony, SGSC President Dr. Ingrid Thompson-Sellers shared some key accomplishments and recognized several students and supporters.
Miss Sydney Cauley from Appling County High School was honored for being a dual enrollment graduate. Former 2018-2019 Student Government Association President, Ms. Tammy Flowers was recognized for her leadership and commitment to serving students in a number of ways, particularly for tutoring and mentoring while she obtained her Associate of Science in Nursing degree.
Dr. Thompson-Sellers commended non-traditional students and students who are raising a family or working while obtaining their degree. She stated, “It takes a lot to attend college. Add in working full-time and helping raise a family and it requires an extra level of dedication and time management skills. Sometimes you wonder if you can do it all; sometimes you question whether it is possible. Well graduates - you did it. Congratulations!”
SGSC employee Maggie King, of Hoboken, who serves as Accounting Assistant/Cashier on the Waycross Campus, was recognized for receiving her Bachelor of Science in Management degree during this academic year.
Basketball players Luke Lawson of Gray, Ga., Riley Meloncon of Pikeville, Tenn., Keyshaun Street of Kingsland, Ga. and Antonio Vendola of Fernandina Beach, Fla., were applauded for each being named to the GCAA’s All-Academic Team. To receive this honor, student athletes must attend college full-time for at least three semesters and maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average.
Hawks basketball program supporter Mr. Jimmy Lamb was recognized for his many efforts over the past eight years. Dr. Thompson-Sellers, stated, “Athletics requires a lot of support not only from the coaching staff but also from other sponsors and fans. Tonight, I want to recognize one man in particular for the steadfast and constant support of our basketball program.”
She went on to say that Lamb truly believes in our players and the sport and cares about helping young people and SGSC. “I want to extend a heartfelt thank you for your willingness to go ‘above and beyond’ to help our students. Because of you, our basketball program has excelled, and it will continue to provide great opportunities to many young men.”
Also during the ceremony, Dr. Thompson-Sellers remarked, “At South Georgia State College, we are proud of our mission and the strong economic impact we are making for the region. In fact, our new strategic plan entitled Moving Forward includes goals to strengthen the economic health of the region. This commitment comes in many forms--from providing strong academic programs delivered by talented faculty and staff to establishing and maintaining relationships through collaborations with our community and region.”
Dr. Thompson-Sellers further stated, “I appreciate our many educational, governmental, Foundation and industry partners who have played a role in our accomplishments this year, and I look forward to working together to continue a bright future for our students and our region.”
SGSC President Dr. Ingrid Thompson-Sellers with Ms. Sarah Rettker, Waycross commencement speaker