Footprints: Viveca Fairbanks-Henderson


– [Narrator] For Viveca
Fairbanks-Henderson, Manufacturing Executive and
former Chapter President of the National Society
of Black Engineers, Purdue provided a sense of community that enabled her to thrive and lead. – My name is Viveca Fairbanks-Henderson. I am a wife, a mother and Senior Director for Energy Optimization
at the Kellogg Company. When I decided to attend Purdue, my goal was to graduate with a degree
in Electrical Engineering. My father was an electrical engineer, my mother was a teacher and I always knew that between the two of
them, I wanted to study engineering from a technical standpoint, but I also wanted to have an opportunity to work in a field that
allowed me to work with others. As I was thinking about graduating and getting closer to
graduation at Purdue, I went through the typical interview cycle like most students on campus
and I was fortunate enough to have used one of my lottery picks. We had those back then. To get on the interview schedule for the Procter and Gamble Company and little did I know that would have been one of the best decisions that
I made while I was on campus. I was able to secure a
job at Procter and Gamble and I consider that one of the giant leaps I was able to make because of Purdue. As I think about Purdue and I think about leaving footprints as a result of my Purdue experience, there are two key things
that come to mind to me. The first one was having an opportunity to leave a footprint at Purdue through the Purdue Black
Alumni Organization. My philosophy is to always leave the place better than you found it. And I had an opportunity
to serve as President of the Purdue Black Alumni
Organization for 10 years. The second piece is at my current company, the Kellogg Company. Another well-known, consumer
packaged goods company and having an opportunity to work there, to deliver products that delight consumers and the foods that we share has been an amazing experience as well. Thanks to Purdue, I have been able to live my best life and I say
that wholeheartedly. I met my husband at the preview program at Purdue in the Spring of 1986 and unbeknownst to us, that would be the start of a very long relationship. As a result, we have one
son who is now 12 years old, who is the light of our lives and so Purdue has allowed
me to live my best life. And professionally the
credibility, the reputation, everything that comes
along with a Purdue degree, I have truly benefited from that. And wherever I go, when I say, “Purdue,” or I say, “Boiler Up,” I’ve got people in the
room who can relate, who come over and shake my hand and engage with me in a way that it’s hard to put words on. So it has been a fantastic journey and I attribute that to
my experience at Purdue. – [Narrator] That was
Viveca Fairbanks-Henderson. Look for more stories at
Purdue.edu/footprints. (light music)

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