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W. P. Carey grad on the importance of talking about mental health

Katie Cormier

Katie Cormier will graduate from the W. P. Carey School of Business with a master’s degree in business administration this spring.

April 24, 2023

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.

As an Arizona native born and raised in Mesa, Katie Cormier’s roots in the city made Arizona State University an easy choice for higher education. A passion for networking and communications inspired her to continue into the ASU Online MBA program at the W. P. Carey School of Business after completing a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies at ASU.

Throughout her life and an academic journey, Katie has continued to be intrigued by her interpersonal connections and influences. Whether seeking advice from professors and mentors or chatting with her siblings, she finds comfort in community and learning about others.

“In my undergraduate communications course, a teacher explained the psychological reason why sitting at certain spots around a desk fostered more collaboration. I was fascinated by human behavior and the traits you could expand and develop to be an effective leader," Cormier said.

In addition to learning about leadership qualities and how psychological principles affect team-based environments, Katie is passionate about conversations regarding mental health and overall wellness. Though emotional well-being has been at the forefront of public discourse lately, but often tangible examples of practical tools and approaches are not part of that discussion.

She hopes to encourage these conversations and lean into personal experiences to build connection and a safe space for ongoing discussion.To wind down and prioritize her mental health while completing her degree, Katie enjoys painting, crochet and spending time with her two children and husband. 

This spring, Cormier will graduate from W. P. Carey School of Business with a Master in Business Administration, in addition to a diploma notation and Master's Distinguished Medallion for graduating with a cumulative 4.0 GPA. In this conversation, she shares more about her academic journey and plans for the future.

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

Answer: My ethics course expanded my view of people from different backgrounds and the experiences they encounter. 

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: My older sister and I attended undergrad together at the same time. She earned her V.D. from Midwestern and now works at ASU as a clinical veterinarian in training and research. My husband is also a graduate of ASU. I hope one day my kids will graduate from ASU.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: Professor (Reynold) Byers taught me never to give up; this is an important concept that will help me professionally. His class was tough — I could never figure out the solution the first time. But when I stepped away or tried to look at the problem differently, I figured it out. When I couldn’t, Professor Byers was always willing to help. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: My brother-in-law gave me the best advice when I started: Always do at least one thing daily for school. Even if it’s reading that one article or writing a discussion board post — if you maintain at least one thing daily, you will stay ahead of the work.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life? (For online students: What was your favorite spot for power studying?)

A: During the pandemic, I converted my craft room into an office. I use this space for work and school. My husband thinks it’s chaotic with all these colorful paintings I’ve done hung on the walls and hundreds of skeins of yarn in open cabinets, but all the colors and beauty and pictures of my wonderful family bring me so much joy. I put on my headphones, play some classical music, look at my pics of my family and study away!

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I enjoy my current role, and if you ask anyone who knows me, they can attest to it! If you mention insurance to most people, their eyes may glaze over, but I truly love it. I’ve worked very hard in my role and would like to move into a principal position with a long-term goal of promoting through risk management. Managing risk to protect employees and property is where my passion lies. 

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Mental health. I have battled with anxiety and depression most of my life and have seen too many lives lost due to mental health. I didn’t have the tools growing up to understand and manage my anxiety and depression, so as a 38-year-old adult, I have spent the last few years trying to establish healthy habits and tools to manage my mental health. I think this is the most important for young teens because that stage can be extremely challenging, and I believe we should be teaching healthy habits for mental health in schools. I’m trying to teach my kids these skills so they can thrive, know how to help themselves and know when to ask for help.

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