Value of Mentors

Theresa Dabrowski '17 (Photo by Matt Hawkins)

Matt Hawkins
November 7, 2016


Bradley marketing-supply chain management major Theresa Dabrowski ’17 stood with classmates counting down to the traditional “Lighting of the B” Homecoming week kickoff. Festivities had gone according to plan thus far.

5…4…3…2…1… KABOOM!

The B flickered to life atop Bradley Hall, fireworks burst overhead and students cheered. Dabrowski, the Homecoming 2016 student coordinator and budding campus leader, breathed a sigh of relief as the successful night wound down.

“I’ll never forget the moment the B lit,” she said. “It was incredibly rewarding to be part of a big Bradley tradition. I knew then that my hard work paid off, and I had learned a lot about myself through the process.”

Dabrowski, a Lockport, Illinois, native, succeeded because of lessons learned from faculty and student mentors. These cheerleaders pushed her to grow through leadership opportunities in the Foster College of Business and across campus.

As a member of Bradley’s American Marketing Association chapter, she shadowed student leaders and became the organization’s president as a junior. She also assumed leadership positions with professional supply chain management professional society APICS and the Activities Council of Bradley University.

Dabrowski began her leadership development immersion as a sophomore when she joined AMA. That became a springboard to other leadership challenges, which also included a successful toy drive for Peoria’s Children’s Home and Greek life executive duties.

Even though organization work kept her busy, Dabrowski found life through the experiences.

“I’m definitely a go-getter, a big people person,” she said. “People are so welcoming at Bradley that I wanted to branch out and meet as many of the amazing people as I could.”

Bradley people influenced her Bradley journey from her college search days and continue to influence her personal growth. She originally wanted to attend a large state school, but a visit day conversation with Project Springboard New Venture Competition Director Amy Fairfield changed that.

“She met with me one-on-one and made me realize I was more than a number, that I was a person who could make an impact,” Dabrowski said. “Bradley made sure these four years made me a greater version of myself.”

Once on campus, Dabrowski eyed the marketing program because of its collaborative nature. She also noted the program’s versatility as she gravitated toward data and analytics associated with operations management.

The major also brought her to the door of marketing instructor Brad Eskridge, who became a trusted mentor. Through Eskridge’s encouragement, Dabrowski developed confidence to pursue leadership positions within Foster College’s organizations and across campus. His encouragement also helped her chart a course for her future.

“Prof. Eskridge saw a lot of potential in me and gave me confidence I needed,” Dabrowski said. “Faculty like him helped me get where I needed to be as a person and student. He encourages his students to be the best they can be.”

Faculty and student role models prepared Dabrowski to navigate leadership challenges on campus and beyond. Campus successes built a leader ready to make her professional mark after she leaves the Hilltop.

“The marketing program opened up unexpected doors on campus and for my future,” she said. “I’ve been able to challenge myself and develop my skills. As I did that, I met wonderful people who made my Bradley years unforgettable.”