Giving School a Chance
“I feel like with my experience and when I do get this degree, it's kind of like a double dose of, ‘You have to take her!’”

Student Spotlight: Dianna Naklicki

A hard-working and dedicated employee, Dianna Naklicki wasn’t always convinced that getting a degree would help her grow her career. When she graduated from high school, Dianna was already making enough money to support herself, and her diligence at work opened up opportunities for her to move into management positions. However, after years of working as a general manager for several different companies, Dianna realized she had reached her peak as a GM, and she wanted to add something extra to her resume so she could progress into higher management roles.

Dianna discovered just what that “something extra” was when her sister graduated with her master’s degree. She realized that if her sister, who is a wife and mother, could balance work, family, and school all at the same time, then she could do it, too. Plus, she knew that through her employer’s partnership with Guild Education, a portion of her tuition would already be paid for — so she took advantage of her education benefit and enrolled in a Business Management and Leadership degree program. “I was the type of person before where I thought that you don’t have to go to school,” she reflected, “but now that I’m older, I do see that even with your experience, it may not take you the places you want to go, but a degree will help you get there.”

While she’s eager to move up in her company and help her coworkers, Dianna’s primary motivation to earn her degree is her 11 year-old son — who, whenever he sees his mom doing homework, asks to stay home and do school online, too. “I’m doing it for my family so that in 5-10 years we will be okay,” Dianna said. “I want to have a good life for my son. I want him to see that no matter your age, you can always do anything you put your mind to.”

Before starting her program in August, Dianna felt nervous and a little overwhelmed at the idea of going back to school. After all, she hadn’t been to school in 20 years, and writing papers wasn’t exactly a normal part of her daily activities. But as she began her classes, her coaches at Guild reached out to encourage her and answer her questions — and just two weeks into the program, she already felt like she had gotten the hang of things. “It was really easy to start,” Dianna said. “Guild was calling and checking in on me every day to see if I needed help with anything. They were always a phone call away.”

Although Dianna has only been in school for a few months, she is already learning practical information she can apply at work. For example, she’s in charge of running profit and loss statements for her store and is now taking a deep dive into the complexities of profit and loss in her microeconomics class. She is also enrolled in an English class that is helping her improve her oral and written communication skills. Dianna hopes to use the skills she’s gaining to move into a new position and teach other employees about leadership. “I feel like with my experience and when I do get this degree, it’s kind of like a double dose of, ‘You have to take her!’” she said. “I can take my experience and help somebody below me who is also looking to become a leader.”

Since her employer announced their debt-free degrees, Dianna has become a huge advocate of the program. She’s been working with many of her coworkers for a long time and views them as family — and when she has the chance, she encourages them to go back to school. “I’m really getting the word out,” she said. “You should go! You’re not paying anything. Why not take advantage of it?”

Dianna is eager to keep learning, even after she finishes her bachelor’s program. When she earns her degree, she plans to continue on to a master’s program, giving her even more opportunity to grow her career. Dianna believes that if you’re considering going back to school — you’ve got to stop hesitating and jump right in. “If you’re scared to start school, just do it,” she said “That’s what it really comes down to. Just face your fears and say, ‘I got this.’ That’s what I did.”

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I'm doing this: to make a better life for my son.
Written by Guild Education