Christine Timmins Barry Image

Christine Timmins Barry

President & CEO, Windham Professionals

High School Name: Medford High School (Medford, MA)

I was most influenced by Physiology and Geometry.

Northeastern University, Boston, MA – Bachelor of Business Administration

Bentley University, Waltham, MA – Master of Business Administration (MBA)

At Northeastern, my major was Business Administration with a minor in Human Resources Management. For my MBA at Bentley, my concentration was International Business.

I began thinking about college my senior year of high school, when I learned a few of my friends were going to Salem State and Bentley. Up until then, college wasn't really a big discussion point for my family. However, at the time of my high school graduation, my family didn't have enough money to send me to college (and I was very reluctant to take on student loan debt) so I worked for a bit before attending college full-time at night, while still working full-time during the day.

My mom was incredibly supportive once I made the decision to go to school full-time at night. I was able to live at home, and my mom took care of a lot of the household responsibilities so I could focus on work during the day and college at night.

Honestly, my biggest challenge associated with going to college was convincing the Tuition Reimbursement Office that my elective courses should be covered by the company's tuition program. You could see the dread in their faces when I walked in to negotiate yet another course!

The best part about going to college is actually a present tense statement…for the rest of your life; you will always have that degree and be part of the school's heritage. It's been 20-plus years since I graduated, and the fact that I'm a Northeastern and Bentley alumna affords me important networking opportunities, even to this day.

I stay in touch by attending women's leadership events, and maintain contact with Northeastern's Family Business Office.

I was a waitress at a pizza restaurant.

Customer Service Representative

Dream big, study hard, and take as many different optional classes as you can during high school. It all adds up.

Think about "education" rather than college. I think there's a serious supply gap in people pursuing valuable trade skills (electrical, plumbing, masonry, etc.). Some of those fields offer good opportunities to become a founder/chief operating officer (CEO) of your own company.

Do what you love while still being practical. You want that degree to have market value when you graduate. You can take lots of electives to fulfill your broader interests, but make sure that core degree is something you really enjoy and that gets you hired.

If you're job hunting via your phone/PC, stop it now. Get outside your comfort zone to network in person. Write personal, interesting letters to the CEO/CFO/COOs of the top 100 companies you want to work for, and ask them if you can have 10 minutes of their time. I've been in C-level positions for two decades, and I can count on one hand how many letters like that I received...and of the few I did get, all those folks ended up talking to me in my office or at Starbucks. Don't just look at billion dollar companies; there are a ton of hugely interesting companies that fly under the radar. Be visible at Chamber of Commerce and Junior Achievement events. Start your own nonprofit company/, just so you have that experience. It is not that difficult to differentiate yourself, but you have to be willing to work harder at your job search than the actual job itself!