Re’Gene Thompson ’17 has a goal to never stop learning and growing, especially in terms of developing her skills as a leader. On March 22, Re’Gene will take the stage to inspire other young women to do the same on the Cultivating Women Leaders (CWL) Alumnae Panel. Under the theme Together We Rise, the event will inspire and equip young women to embrace their inner strength and realize their potential as responsible leaders.
For Re’Gene, the role on the Alumnae Panel is a sign of her own growth. At the first CWL, she served as a student moderator for a session on effective communication. As she now transitions to the role as presenter, Re’Gene is both excited and daunted by the task. Her feelings remind her just how important it is to support and encourage young women.
“It means so much to me to have been chosen for such a huge role,” Re’Gene said. “The transition from college student to professional has tested me and I’ve doubted if my experience is worthy of sharing. I’ve wondered, am I good enough? Am I successful enough? I’ve realized that those things are measured by taking opportunities like this to give back and letting current students hear about my struggles along with my successes so that it helps point them in the right direction. I am still growing as a leader, but I’m not afraid to admit that. I have so much more that I want to accomplish, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my story about life after Olivet thus far.”
This type of concern and affirmation is exactly what CWL aims to address, and Re’Gene knows she can drive home the message through her personal experiences.
“The first question we hear as we get older is, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I want young women to know that there is not just one thing that we are destined to do, expand your horizons!” Re’Gene emphasized. “Be a multi-potentialite. There’s no rule that says we can’t be a lawyer and a teacher, or work in customer service and be a singer. I’ve had so many opportunities and know you learn best by experiencing life through all lenses.”
Re’Gene’s passion for women’s leadership stems from her time as a student at Olivet College. She had many professors, coaches and mentors who exemplified strong leadership qualities, and who used their status to help make a difference in the lives of others. These examples encouraged Re’Gene to develop her own confidence and strength, further creating a network of support and mentorship on campus.
“I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to Joanne Williams, associate professor of journalism and mass communication, for being a great adviser. She always pushed me to be the best I can be. Women’s volleyball coach Megan Merchant helped make my first visit to Olivet College possible, and without her I don’t know that I would have known where to start,” Re’Gene said.
“I’d also like to acknowledge everyone who nominated me to be a part of the President’s Leadership Institute, and especially President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D., and Traci Corey, Women’s Leadership Institute director and presidential spouse, for helping me enhance my leadership potential. Without the people at Olivet who believed in me, I wouldn’t be the strong- willed and determined woman that I am today.”
Re’Gene currently serves as a technical assistant for a team of underwriters at Michigan Millers Insurance Company. In her own pursuit of being a multi-potenialite, Re’Gene has also gained experience from teaching, serving as an online tutor for children in China, working in Olivet College admissions and as site coordinator at CDF Freedom Schools in Battle Creek. Next up, Re’Gene is considering her options in a master’s program and is even interested in concentrating her studies in leadership.
“I am always looking for ways to learn, grow and create better opportunities for myself,” Re’Gene said. “I’ve learned that being a leader is a continuous journey where we learn new things and grow along the way. We need more strong, independent and successful women, and I will forever advocate for that.”