Despite the challenges that Sonia Waleska Rodriguez ’04 faced upon entering Bryant – as an older returning student who worked full-time in a highly competitive environment – she graduated magna cum laude and was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma, the highest national recognition an undergraduate student can receive from AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Once enrolled as a student, Rodriguez, whose first language is not English, appreciated the fellowship and support from students and faculty. “The women’s leadership courses at Bryant gave me the strong foundation to believe that I could accomplish getting my degree and acquire the tools to be an effective, efficient leader,” she recalls. “It gave me grounded, reliable, and up-to-date information to handle challenges occurring in the business world.”
"The women’s leadership courses at Bryant gave me the strong foundation to believe that I could accomplish getting my degree and acquire the tools to be an effective, efficient leader."
Her graduation, she says, was “a special and sweet celebration. I already had a rewarding career and was financially secure, yet I wanted to cross that educational threshold.”
Now a Senior Strategic Sourcing Analyst New Product Development/Supervisor with BD (formerly CR Bard), a Fortune 500 medical device company, Rodriguez works with engineering, quality, and regulatory teams to evaluate new devices’ components for appropriate certifications, pricing, and compliance with regulatory approvals. She attributes many of her career successes and promotions to knowledge and skills acquired at Bryant, including accounting, international business, leadership, and team building.
“Each individual has the opportunity to become a leader of their own area,” she says. “I often help the team members reach consensus in difficult situations.”
A mentor to Bryant students who intern at BD, Rodriguez has received several prestigious awards from CR Bard, including The Charles Russell Bard Award, Bard’s premier recognition and reward program for employee excellence and outstanding corporate and community citizenship. Being chosen by her peers from among 1,000 fellow employees at the Cranston site was especially meaningful for Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, who is a lifelong learner, also regularly participates in the Women’s Summit® at Bryant. She calls it “the gift from me to me.” The annual Women’s Summit provides a variety of educationally enriching sessions that support attendees’ professional and personal aspirations. Rodriguez says Women’s Summit Director Kati Machtley does an excellent job producing a dynamic program. She’s a believer in the power of women showing the next generation paths to success.