Judy Wright realized early on: If she wanted to get ahead and move up within her company, she needed to be the best candidate. The candidate who was standing there, waiting and ready. The candidate they couldn’t look away from.
“I would always keep my head up, look on the horizon, know what opportunities there might be and what experience I might need for those opportunities. I would intentionally seek out those skills, so they had to give me those opportunities,” Wright explained.
Wright, an assistant clinical professor of business law, began her career as a corporate lawyer after attending law school at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.
Wright first began work at an insurance company she had previously interned at. About six months into her position, they promoted her to the manager of her department.
“Suddenly, I was getting called into the management meetings in the board room. They handed me financials, and I had no idea what to do with them,” explained Wright. “I had never had any business classes, and I hadn’t had math since high school. I realized I needed more education.”
Wright got as many books from the bookstore as possible, and she started to teach herself. Shortly after that, she was recruited to work at Hillenbrand Industries in Batesville, Indiana in their newly created Forethought Financial Services Division.
“It was then I knew I needed an MBA,” said Wright. “I was managing people, and I didn’t have any experience with HR. I didn’t know how to do performance reviews, or help people with career development plans. I knew I needed the MBA Program.”
Wright was pregnant both years she was in the MBA Program through the IU Kelley School of Business in Bloomington. She maintained a career - and moved up the corporate ladder.
“Living in a small town, my family support network was around me. That’s how I pulled it off. I raised kids, traveled all the time, had a senior executive position, was involved in civic affairs and I cleaned my own house,” she added jokingly.