LaRae Wilson has done it all. Wilson graduated from the McKay School in 1981 and since then has done everything from teaching piano, to being a human resources representative at a medical center, to directing public affairs in her stake, to being a health and life coach. Her degree in education provided many different career opportunities. “A teaching background equips you with communication, organization, and teamwork skills,” explained Wilson.
Though her career has been mostly outside of the field of education, she has still spent the majority of her time in some teaching or training capacity. For three years Wilson worked as a human resources representative at a large medical center. Of this, Wilson expressed, “My decision to pursue a job in human resources . . . came from a desire to take my skill set as a classroom teacher and transfer it to a corporate setting.”
Wilson considers herself a “people person.” Because of this, one of the most rewarding parts of her career as an HR rep was simply helping others see themselves as leaders. Many of the people Wilson worked with had previously been reputable staff members at the hospital and were promoted to assistant managers in their units. Wilson worked with them to learn how to mentor and lead their peers. “I enjoyed watching them grow into their role[s],” she said.
Even though she hasn’t been in a traditional classroom her whole career, Wilson has still noticed how teaching has evolved since she graduated from the McKay School. Teaching used to be very strict in the “teacher presentation style” lessons, but has since migrated to an emphasis on creating class discussion. As she has volunteered as a substitute teacher or taught early morning seminary, she noticed this shift in teaching styles. Despite meaning she had to relearn how to teach to accommodate the new teaching style, she decided, “It was exciting to have the opportunity to again be the student as I learned how to engage students, through discussion, in their own learning.”
After all this time and a myriad of different career paths, Wilson still attributes her success to the McKay School. “Teaching runs in my veins,” said Wilson. “[The] McKay School gave me tools to take my God-given talents and create a life using them.” She thanks the supportive and happy friends and professors she worked with while at the McKay School, and has worked to create that same energy in her own teaching.
To those considering a career in education, Wilson offers this advice: “Life is a journey, and you cannot always be certain where it will take you.” She advises ignoring those who discourage you, and to remember to move forward with courage and optimism.
Wilson currently volunteers in her local schools and community. She and her husband reside in Reno, Nevada.
Writer: Lauren Hansen
Contact: Shauna Valentine (801) 422-8562