Vicki Vopalensky ’95, ’01, grew up in North Bend, Nebraska, where hard work and helping others were part of the fabric of her life. Her father worked as the town blacksmith and farmed on evenings and weekends. Her mother supported the family business, and ran yet another business. Even her older sister modeled a strong work ethic by attending the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration and creating a successful career in accounting.
Vopalensky herself went on to graduate from Nebraska with a degree in accounting and today works in talent acquisition at NRC Health, where she regularly makes contact with business students. She believes her work giving back to her alma mater blends with what she sees happening at CBA every day.
“I see firsthand how the entire CBA team is vested in student success,” said Vopalensky. “When I talk with faculty or staff about certain students, their eyes light up as if they are talking about their own children. I believe in the dean and her team becoming a world-class business college that competes with the elites. I want to be part of what is going on.”
From the standpoint of helping NRC grow, she knows CBA is a valuable resource and enjoys giving back.
“I am interested in return on investment. When you combine the students, faculty and staff with the new state-of-the-art facility they will be moving into next year, that return on investment grows exponentially. Nebraska high school students deserve a top-notch, affordable education, and I want our homegrown students to ‘Start Something’ right here in Nebraska,” she said.
Vopalensky helped NRC receive the Employer of the Year award from Career Services at CBA in 2015. She recognizes the importance of cultivating a career in college. She completed internships at Ameritas, Grant Thornton, LLP (now BKD) and also worked at CBA while in school.
“My first day on the job at Grant Thornton, I worked on a bank audit. I was 50 percent in shock and 50 percent clueless but it prepared me for the real world. I learned the importance of customer service and accuracy. I also learned accountants have fun too,” she said.
Vopalensky, who also earned an MBA from Nebraska, sees teamwork as a lasting thread still connecting her to CBA.
“I learned you cannot succeed alone and everyone has a part to complete,” she said. “Today I focus on recruiting the best Nebraska students to join our team. NRC teams with CBA to participate in mock interviews, career fairs and each year we award a Rising Star Scholarship to two outstanding CBA students.”