Connecting Across Cultures
PROVO, Utah – Dec 08, 2020 – When Mary Kay Lloyd graduated from high school, she planned on working in fashion advertisement. However, like many of us, her experiences took her on a different path and taught her how to adapt. As a program coordinator for the Global Business Center (GBC) at the BYU Marriott School of Business, she relies on life lessons she’s learned to reach out to students and help them feel connected to the world and community around them.
Living what Lloyd calls a small-town life in Idaho Falls, Idaho, a life of travel and change was unfamiliar to her. Yet, after graduating from high school, her eyes were opened when she had the opportunity to participate in a program called the Foreign Study League. Lloyd flew across the Atlantic Ocean to visit the bustling cities of London, Paris, and Madrid. She even had the opportunity to wander the lush forested country of Austria.
But to Lloyd, traveling wasn’t just about seeing grand architecture or walking down iconic cobbled streets. Traveling was about the people. “Traveling not only magnified people’s differences, but it also showed me how much people are the same—how friendly and helpful people can be,” Lloyd says. “Traveling showed me the importance of connecting with others.”
After traveling with the Foreign Study League, Lloyd became a student at BYU. Like many students, she struggled with deciding what she wanted her future career to be. While she pursued her interest in fashion advertisement, she also discovered a passion for communications. Consequently, Lloyd graduated with a major in clothing and textiles and a minor in communications. She then worked as special assistant to the staff director at the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee in Washington, DC for a year where she gained confidence in the skills she learned in college. After that, she moved to Los Angeles and worked for Nordstrom, where she realized she wanted more than retail and fashion in her life. That’s when she turned back to communications.
“I loved my communications classes when I was at BYU, so I wanted to focus more on communications,” Lloyd says. She got a job at global news organization Reuters, where she stayed for twelve years.
However, Lloyd’s professional journey was far from over. In 2017, she moved back to Utah to enjoy the weather, scenery, and skiing—and to work for BYU Marriott’s GBC. Because Lloyd moved around a lot during her adult life, she has learned how to make friends and connect with people from different backgrounds and cultures. Inspired by those personal and professional experiences, Lloyd understands the importance of students getting to know each other on a more personal level.
As a program coordinator, Lloyd creates opportunities for students to make the most of their multicultural experiences. When circumstances allow, she helps organize a variety of fun local activities for student employees working at the GBC. “We’ve done things like take the students ice skating at the Peaks Ice Arena,” Lloyd says. “We took them axe throwing and out to dinner. Everyone thought the activities were fun and unique. GBC student employees enjoy getting to know other students on a more personal level.”
Serving others by being kind and helping others feel recognized and appreciated is “important, especially with international students,” Lloyd says. “While moving to Utah is exciting, that change is not an easy one. Most of these students are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I want to make sure they feel included and have a good experience and love BYU like I do.”
Whether in a different country or at home, Lloyd has seen the importance of connecting with others. Though her career path didn’t go the direction she planned, Lloyd continues to find purpose in giving back to others. Because of her national and international travel experience, Lloyd wants to continue to help students and colleagues feel important, included, and loved—as part of the BYU family.
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Rebecca Nissen