Mary McGuire ’79 and Geena McFaul ’16

A recipient of much guidance as a student, Mary McGuire returns the favor and gives back to Indiana State in the form of time and mentorship.

Mary McGuire graduated from Indiana State in 1979. Geena McFaul was a 2016 grad. So how did the two connect almost four decades apart in their college careers and become mentor and mentee?

The answer is a pilot program called Destination Success that provides a platform for female technology students to connect with mentors. As the second female to graduate from State’s packaging technology program, McGuire was a perfect fit to become mentor to McFaul who was majoring in safety management.

“Mary gave me advice on beginning my career and on life in general,” McFaul said. “I would definitely recommend a mentorship to any student. It isn’t something that will last throughout college but throughout your life.”

For McGuire, being a mentor was a matter of sharing life and career experiences with someone just beginning that path. “I have had a wonderful career and now it is my time to give back,” McGuire said. “I enjoy that very much.”

Born in Kokomo, McGuire’s childhood ambition was to be an airline stewardess or an artist. When it came college time, McGuire chose Indiana State. Or perhaps it chose her.

“I received an academic scholarship, and ISU had a good interior design program,” she said, adding that her grandmother had attended Indiana State to become a teacher and her sister had obtained a technology degree from the Terre Haute university.

“I attended ISU during the Larry Bird years, so it was an awesome time,” McGuire said. A resident assistant, she was involved in the homecoming committee, the alumni council and Blue Key, where she was the first female president.

After graduating, McGuire held many operations and engineering management positions, including working in Mexico for eight years. She was the first female in management in a Mexican manufacturing location with about 5,000 employees.

McGuire now works at Telamon Corporation in Carmel where she is manager of customer service for one of the business units. “I manage interface with the customer on delivery and cost issues,” she said. “However, my main focus is to establish and improve processes that will provide opportunities for growth.”

A lifetime member of the alumni association, McGuire serves on the Indiana State University Foundation Board of Directors as well as the College of Technology Executive Advisory Board.

During her educational pursuits, McGuire said she had many mentors along the way. “Starting with my father,” she said. “Then Dr. Brad Lawson, the associate dean of technology, while I was at ISU. Most of my mentors were informal, and I’m very grateful for them.”

McGuire began mentoring other women when she worked in Mexico. “Mexico had fewer women working in engineering than the U.S. I came to the conclusion that they needed mentoring and guidance and, if I didn’t start doing it, how could I expect anyone else to do it? I have been mentoring females in all areas since then.”

One day, over lunch with Kara Harris, associate dean in the College of Technology, the two women began discussing creating a mentoring program for female majors in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in the college.

“Our goal was to provide one-on-one mentoring, plus monthly programs that would help COT female STEM students in their careers,” McGuire said. “Out of the conversation, the idea of Destination Success was born.”

In the Destination Success Mentoring Program in the College of Technology, students meet with a mentor at least once a month for one-on-one sessions. They also attend monthly meetings with the larger Destination Success group. Sponsors for the group include both internal academic and external industry-based sponsors for each student participant.

“Geena was in the first year of Destination Success mentees,” McGuire said. “We were matched up for two academic years.”

And that partnership was a blessing in her life and career, McFaul said. “Mary and I got along very well and we had many similarities on how we viewed life.”

Born in Kokomo, McFaul lived the majority of her childhood in St. Anthony. “Growing up, I changed my mind several times on what I wanted to be such as a veterinarian, dietitian and a pilot,” she said.

Choosing a college, McFaul said that Indiana State was always one of her top choices. “I knew I wanted to pursue the safety management major. My sister attended ISU and graduated in the same major.”

Being at State, McFaul said, “gave me the opportunity to attend a decent-sized university and be a part of a small program such as safety management. I was able to have small classes and not just be a number.”

One of the professors who most influenced her career, McFaul said, was Farman Moayed. “He was definitely one of the tougher professors due to the courses he was teaching, but I could tell he was passionate and knowledgeable about the subjects, which can be hard to have in safety management.”

Living with her sister during her Indiana State years, McFaul said her college life was probably not as typical as other students on campus. But having those years with her sister, McFaul said, “built on a friendship that I will cherish forever.”

After graduating in December 2016, McFaul took at position as Environmental, Health & Safety Generalist at the Plexus Corporation in Appleton, Wis., where she now lives.

Looking back over her time with Mary McGuire and the Destination Success, McFaul said she appreciates the program and the valuable friendship she formed with her mentor.

“Mary really gave me a sense of reassurance when returning from a summer internship because I was hoping for a full-time position, which I did receive,” she said. “Once I came back from my summer internship I only had a semester left with Destination Success; therefore, Mary and I made the most out of our mentor/mentee-ship.”

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *