For three happy Goizueta couples, Valentine’s Day is a great time to reflect on beginnings and the evolution of their love–on campus, through career moves, and into married and family life together.
Strong Friendship and Shared Professional Interests Build Foundation for a Great Family
Reflecting on the evolution of their relationship comes naturally as Brett Bernstein 02BBA and Holly Rodillo 03BBA approach their tenth wedding anniversary.
With mutual friends and shared classes in CPA-track Accounting, the couple knew each other by name but never actually spoke to each other during their time at Emory and Goizueta. They officially met at an awards dinner for Beta Alpha Psi, Goizueta’s accounting fraternity.
“Coincidentally enough, I was the recipient of the John R. Jones Accounting Award that evening, and Brett had received the same award the year prior,” Holly shares. “He introduced himself to me, and his first word to me was literally, ‘Congratulations.’ A plaque somewhere in the business school has both our names listed on it.”
Holly is director of Finance/Campus CFO, Northside Hospital Gwinnett and Duluth, and Brett is audit partner for KPMG LLP. As individuals, “Brett is quiet, thoughtful, and brainy, while I’m an outgoing, karaoke-singing ball of energy,” Holly reveals. “But we’re both incredible nerds who love financial accounting. We balance each other out as a couple, while still being able to connect on a professional level. It’s nice to be able to blow off steam or discuss a work achievement without having to ‘translate.’”
True connection is vital, and the couple recommends that students stay connected after graduation via social media. “But make it a point to catch up in person,” Holly suggests. “If you live in the same city, maybe commit to a coffee, dinner, or drinks on a somewhat regular basis, and put it on your work calendars.”
If a loving relationship does emerge during college or after, Holly shares wise words.
You’re both young, so be aware that this is the time to focus on who you each are individually and who you want to be as an adult. Have your own things going on and support each other in them. A relationship is stronger when it’s built on two people who can stand by themselves and choose to stand together.Holly Rodillo
This fall, the couple took their 4-year-old daughter Belle to campus for Homecoming. “We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day,” says Holly. On a campus walk, they showed Belle special places like the business school, Dobbs Hall, the new DUC. “In the afternoon, we sat on the grass, listened to live music while drinking draught beer and watching Belle show us her latest dance moves. Now she asks when we’re going back to Emory because she thinks this goes on all the time! Fitting because her middle name is Emory!”
A Shared Meal, Great Conversations, and a Lifelong Connection
What began as a Goizueta career discussion turned into so much more for Tekla Evans 04MPH 16EMBA and her future husband Recardi “Rick” Wallace 01EvMBA. With an introduction by Jonathan Parris 15EMBA, Tekla and Rick connected for dinner to discuss work culture at EY, but after the first hour, the two realized just how much they had in common. They promised to keep in touch and get together again.
Both settled into roles at EY and KPMG just a mile apart. “We began to meet for lunch regularly,” Tekla recalls of their burgeoning relationship. “Rick won me over quite easily with his good looks, wit, and charm.”
In her career, Tekla serves as the director of change enablement for Cox Enterprises, Inc. and Rick is director of transformation delivery at KPMG. A favorite memory calls to mind the first Emory event they attended together as a couple. Hosted by the Wise Heart Society, the event evoked a strong sense of nostalgia in Rick for his campus days.
Seeing people in their natural environments is one of the best ways to get to know them. More importantly, seeing them in stressful situations is also a good teacher. Rick and I graduated 15 years apart but have fun stories to share about the professors we’ve had, the lessons we’ve learned, and the connections we made.Tekla Evans
Avid travelers, Tekla and Rick embrace new cuisines and experiencing different cultures. “There’s a magic in innocently being a few degrees of separation away from your life partner and not even knowing it,” Tekla says. “Establishing strong relationships in school among people who aim to achieve goals similar to yours and better themselves seems like a logical place for a starting point.” She adds, “We are super excited that Emory has been one of the many ties that binds Rick and me together.”
“Once we started talking to each other, we couldn’t stop.”
Meeting at a college social event and talking for hours, LaShonda Oglesbee 02MBA and Coleman Oglesbee 05MBA realized just how much they enjoyed each other’s company.
With similar values and goals, the attraction between them grew. Professionally, LaShonda serves as vice president of talent enablement at Assurant. For Comcast, Coleman is vice president of customer experience and project management.
Commencement ceremonies elicit very special memories for the couple. Though three years apart, “Graduation was a special time for us and for our families,” LaShonda recalls. “It was an amazing experience to see our dreams come true and to support each other. For Coleman’s graduation, we had one extra family member join us.” LaShonda was pregnant with their first and only child and gave birth to a son two months later. “He didn’t make my graduation, but he was definitely there for Coleman’s.”
Our advice to would-be Goizueta couples? Communicate often and set clear expectations. Also, it’s important to support each other. Regardless of the demands of school or work, remember to spend time with each other to continue to cultivate the relationship and continue to grow.LaShonda Oglesbee
For 22 years of their married life, LaShonda and Coleman Oglesbee are quick to recognize that time is to be shared. They write, “We enjoy creating those moments that matter with each other by experiencing new things as a couple.”
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