Barbara Provost ’89 has every right to call herself a self-made woman. Directly out of high school she was on her own, making a living in Skokie, Ill. Now she’s a business owner with experience teaching in higher education.
Provost stands tall on a stack of good choices and grit. But, as she explained, it took more than just steady determination to get her where she is today.
“NLU provided me an entrée into a world that I didn’t think I could be a part of. And they did it with care and encouragement,” she said.
Rewind back to Provost in her late teens. She was putting in her time at work, but it wasn’t quite enough. “I quickly realized that others with degrees were getting promoted in the workplace,” she admitted.
She settled on a community college to help solve her promotion problems because she didn’t quite believe she was cut out for a four-year university. But that all changed when one of the instructors convinced Provost to transfer to National Louis University.
“I can’t tell you his name, but it was a moment that changed my life,” she insisted.
Once enrolled in the B.A. in Applied Behavioral Sciences program at National Louis, Provost realized her writing skills were not where they needed to be. So she started meeting with a writing tutor in the library.
“Again I don’t know her name, but her kindness, lack of judgement and encouragement with my writing gave me the confidence to move ahead,” Provost explained.
When Provost graduated in 1989, she decided she wasn’t finished. She enrolled in a master’s degree program and graduated with an M.S. in Management in 1991. With degrees in hand, she became an adjunct instructor for the undergraduate program at NLU for several years. With university life now like a well-worn path, she went on to receive a second graduate degree and a doctoral degree from another higher education institution.
Back to the present day, Provost is an entrepreneur running two businesses: Provost Consulting, Inc., an employee education and training business that she’s run for over 10 years and Purse Strings, LLC., specializing in financial consulting for women.
With all the achievements Provost can point to in her life, it’s still her undergraduate degree that means the most to her.
“NLU was a catapult to where I am today. I’ve earned higher degrees since NLU, but my undergraduate was the most meaningful. I was told I wasn’t really college material, so I didn’t put myself in that category. But when I walked across the stage to get my diploma, I proved to myself that I could do anything I set my mind to. And I do!” Provost related.