Ever since her advanced high school classes, University of Florida graduate Courtney DeLuca knew how to multitask, manage her time and exceed expectations.
It was no surprise that she graduated cum laude in 2004, with a double major in philosophy and classical studies along with a minor in religion.
What was surprising was her next move: enrolling in the university’s Master of Science in Management (MSM) program.
Liberal arts grad learns to love business
“When everyone was introducing themselves and sharing what they studied for undergrad, I realized I was the only person with my specific background in the entire program,” she said.
But she felt her liberal arts degree prepared her for anything, even business school.
“I realized there were a number of business courses I enjoyed just as much as my courses on ancient Rome and Athens,” she said. “I especially enjoyed marketing and classes like global strategic management.”
She discovered a lot of common ground between the analyses she conducted in philosophy and the case studies the Warrington College of Business professors gave to her.
“For someone who’s an inherent researcher and likes to dig into whatever the subject is, I found I could do that in business school,” she said.
After business school, Courtney moved to Boston and worked with a large financial services company for more than six years, wholesaling fixed and variable annuities.
Time for a new challenge — and new opportunities
In early 2012, one of Courtney’s wholesaling partners was hired by a new financial company called Longboard and encouraged Courtney to be a part of the growing company. Moving from a huge, established company to a small startup posed some career risks. But the more Courtney learned about Longboard, the more opportunity she saw.
She was impressed with the company’s two leaders: CIO Eric Crittenden and CEO Cole Wilcox.
“They were extremely intelligent and had a clear vision of where they wanted to take the company,” she said. “I wanted the chance to be part of something new and exciting like that. So I said to myself, ‘Let’s make this transition and see what happens.’”
The company quickly recognized and rewarded Courtney’s work ethic, her collaborative nature and her ability to get things done – all natural skills bolstered by her training at UF.
“I think that the organizational skills are really what helped me move up,” she said. “This was a young company, and they needed someone who could keep all the different tasks and projects moving.”
That organization kept her moving to increasing levels of responsibilities. Starting in sales, she was first promoted to project manager. Now, she serves as managing director of client engagement. In this role, she ensures Longboard’s financial advisor clients understand what true diversification looks like and can access that information through customer service as well as digital and print channels.
A diverse employee seeks out a company that rewards her skills
Longboard seeks employees like Courtney, with a diverse skill set and CEO mentality, to help bring a range of perspective to its projects.
“Our whole concept is helping clients diversify their investment portfolios by investing a portion of those assets in true diversifiers — investments outside of traditional stocks and bonds,” Courtney said. “So it’s natural that we often pull people from different departments to help with presentations or other projects. We’re always looking to uncover the diversity of skills team members have.”
Courtney saw the jump from liberal arts to her graduate degree in business the way she sees the challenges she faces in her job every day.
“I wanted to prove that a liberal arts student could not only handle but thrive in the business world,” Courtney said. “It’s been extremely rewarding.”