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Business Graduates

Sherricka Fields Jones, MBA

What I do now:
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the City of Shreveport

My work/job consists of:
As CAO, I serve as the chief administrative assistant to the Mayor. I oversee the daily activities of the city including operational, administrative and fiscal matters. I facilitate, coordinate and manage the preparation and process of the city's more than $1 billion operating and capital budgets in accordance with the city charter. The broad operations of the city require the CAO to be flexible and to carry out various duties regarding all matters that pertain to the city. 

Path to my current career position (how I got from the past to the present):
My first job was as a dance teacher. I started dance lessons when I was 9 years old. Teaching dance has continued to be my part-time job since I was 15 years old. In 2005, I became licensed through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing Service (NMLS) as a Mortgage Loan Officer. Around the turn of the economy, I spent approximately six months studying for a Series 7 license through the Securities and Exchange Commission. I completed with a 90% score and served in Investment Banking as a public finance professional working with more than $2.5 billion in bond debt financing for local government projects. In 2012, I joined the City of Shreveport's Airport Authority as the Manager of Finance and Administrative Services, where I managed four accountants and one administrative professional. I earned my Master of Business Administration from LSUS in 2012. Also in 2012, I earned state licensing in life insurance, providing me with the ability to help people create a legacy. After ten months at the Airport, Former Mayor Cedric B. Glover called me and asked me to join city hall as his Assistant Chief Administrative Officer. Two days after speaking with Mayor Glover, I assumed the role and responsibilities of ACAO, and served in that capacity until I was nominated CAO by Mayor Adrian Perkins and confirmed by the City Council in March 2019. I have continued to maintain my securities and Louisiana life insurance licensing as a registered representative of PFS Investments. I am also the co-owner of The Play Station, a children's dance and fitness studio.

How I got to LSUS (or why I chose LSUS):
LSUS afforded me the flexibility to work full-time while earning a Masters Degree. I was able to manage the cost and time commitment by taking one (1) class at a time until the credit requirements were met. It appealed to me to be able to pursue graduate studies in a physical classroom close to home, and at a reputable university.

Fond memories of LSUS:
Fond memories include listening to professors' real-life stories in class. Interacting with classmates.

LSUS faculty who helped me:
There are too many to name. I am grateful for the priceless work LSUS professors and staff provides. I especially enjoyed Dr. Chengho Hsieh's finance classes.

How LSUS helped me succeed:
Through relevant coursework, real-life applications, team-oriented activities, and cost-and-time-accessible education, LSUS provided me with a postgraduate degree that allowed me to be more knowledgeable, marketable, resourceful, and well rounded as a professional.

Advice to college-bound students:
It is true that academic excellence opens doors. However, good character is what keeps the doors open. The phrase "It's all about who you know", actually means, "It's all about who knows you and what they think about you." As soon as possible, begin to build bridges and good character. Character includes the things you choose to do when no one is watching.

Advice to someone who wants to enter my field:
Gain knowledge in related fields such as finance, accounting, economics, public policy, law (especially tax, finance, and business law) and even communications. In working with clients in the field of finance, it is good practice to err on the side of being conservative. Under promise to over deliver. Most importantly, ethics should be your day-to-day compass.

Tips on choosing a major or career:
Choosing a major should involve specific research about the career outcomes you want to experience. Talk to people who are already doing what you desire to do. Then ask straightforward questions to find out if the overall lifestyle can be a fit for you. Not everyone is risk tolerant or financially afforded the ability to strictly follow their passion at first. It is also okay to really enjoy your career, but be in love with and passionate about an activity or talent that you do or share outside of your core working hours. Also, I recommend that students explore outside of their major and choose electives that stretch the mind to learn about topics that influence people as individuals, and our world. Gaining knowledge in other areas will allow professional flexibility. Sometimes, a career path does not stay within the lines we draw. Sometimes unexpected opportunities could be even better than what we planned - if we're prepared.

My toughest professional challenge:
My toughest professional challenge is not being so hard on myself.

My toughest personal challenge:
I am my toughest critic and my toughest personal challenge is also not being so hard on myself.

Successes (honors, awards, etc.) in my life:
Who's Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges (2005)
Series 7 Securities Registered Representative (Since 2007)
State of Louisiana Department of Insurance (Since 2014)
Government Finance Officers Association Budget Presentation Award (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
Shreveport Chamber of Commerce 40 under 40 (2018)

I've learned this from life:
I've learned to stay mindful of the big picture - to value our limited time and the people we share it with instead of stressing over things that truly don't matter.

What I'd be doing if I had all the time in the world:
With all the time in the world, I'd be doing a combination of volunteer service, dancing, teaching dance, cooking, reading, and exploring the world with my family.

 
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