Raelene Wagoner

Class of 1987

Current Position: Director, Human Resources & Administration, Customer Value Partners
Major: Computer Science
Minor: Music
Current Location: Fairfax, VA

Before I came to William & Mary I didn’t know what career I wanted to pursue, but I did know two things: I liked math and I wanted to be able to play my violin in an environment where I could get credit for it.

I decided to attend William & Mary so I could pursue both of my passions. I always liked the diversity of experiences offered at a liberal arts school, and knew I would get to take a variety of classes, which was a huge draw for me.

I picked a major that allowed me to focus on math, but in my heart I knew I would never be a software architect or developer. I’ve always been more drawn to people-oriented things.

After graduating, I was working as a software developer when I was offered a position as a human resources executive at a software product company. I took the role for the leadership experience because it was exciting and different, not because I thought I had a passion for human resources.

It was because of that opportunity that I realized my true passion is human resources. My career allows me to interact with people on a regular basis, and I am still able to find the time to play my violin in the Loudon County Symphony.

You don’t know what role you will be in or what jobs will be available in 10-20 years. A liberal arts education prepares you for what you don’t know you will be several years from now.

At William & Mary you work on competency development, critical thinking and communication skills rather than learning how to do a specific job. I think it’s the liberal arts education that makes William & Mary students flexible and open to different learning opportunities. The ability to think critically and communicate verbally transcends all careers.

The diversity of classes I took at William & Mary prepared me to do a 90-degree career shift. I didn’t seek out that career shift, but was approached by the investor of a company about becoming their human resources director. Whether people see those competencies in you or you’re seeking out new opportunities, it’s the competencies you develop at William & Mary that gets you noticed.