UMO Alumni Provide Students with Glimpse of the Future

UMO Alumni Provide Students with Glimpse of the Future

MOUNT OLIVE – The University of Mount Olive (UMO) Tillman School of Business recently held a Career Forum to enlighten students about educational and career experiences and opportunities.

A panel of seven UMO Alumni shared lessons they have learned as they have prepared themselves for their current career.  They also provided insights on what it takes to be successful in today’s business environment.  The panel included Tilwanda Steinberg, Jessica McDermott, Richard Holland, Pansy Chase, Mark Bryan, Clint Britt, and Kevin Acree.


Richard Holland, a 2015 graduate of UMO, spoke about his 20-year experience with the swine industry prior to earning his degree from UMO. He was an independent entrepreneur who worked with financing, budgeting, forecasting, and reporting. With his business administration degree from UMO, he began a career he loves as the Purchasing Manager with Villari Food Group of Warsaw.


Pansy Chase spoke of her continuous climb up the corporate ladder at Vidant Duplin Hospital. Chase began her career at Vidant in 1981 as a business office clerk. She then served in various roles such as manager of computer services and financial controller. In 2017, Chase obtained her master’s degree in business administration from UMO.  It was the career boost she needed.  She is now the Human Resources Director and a member of the hospital’s executive staff.


Clint Britt graduated from UMO in 2002 with a degree in business administration while working in the electrical generation industry. In 2005, he began working in insurance where he excelled. He is now an insurance agent and the office manager for the Pink Hill office of Kornegay Insurance Agency.


Jessica Murphy McDermott graduated from UMO in 2004 with a degree in business administration and a minor in fine arts.  She offered insights into the corporate world as she shared her experiences of being hired as an executive team leader in human resources with Target Corporation directly after college. She has since opened the Knightdale Target Store as an executive team leader, served as a team leader in New Bern and Fayetteville, and in 2015 became the leader of the Goldsboro Target store. She and her husband also own two children’s boutiques – Noah’s Nook in Goldsboro and Greenville.


Michael Kevin Acree, Jr, obtained his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2008. He already had over eight years of banking experience.  After graduating, he began a career with BB&T as a check card chargeback analyst.  He later moved to the Merchant Services Department as a support manager. Acree continued to experience professional growth, and now works as a payment solutions manager.


Mark Bryan graduated from UMO in 1997 with a degree in business management. He obtained a master’s degree in business administration in 1999 before joining the human resources team at Mount Olive Pickle Company. He currently works as Vice President of Human Resources/Risk Management for E.J. Pope & Son, Inc., a locally operated company, which employs people in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia.


Tilwanda Steinberg started her banking career with HSBC bank as a clerical payment processor.  As she continued to grow professionally, she was promoted to Branch Manager and Regional Insurance Manager over seven states.  Steinberg earned her bachelor’s degree in business management from UMO in 2017.  She currently serves as Vice President/Market Leader IV for BB&T where she is responsible for the overall balanced financial performance of branches with an emphasis on retail lending, deposit acquisition, and interest income generation.  She is pursuing her master’s degree and hopes to one day be able to teach banking and finance at the collegiate level.


Dr. Kathy T. Best, Dean of the Tillman School of Business, had the following comments.

“The Annual Tillman Career Forum is a unique opportunity for our students to learn from the experience of UMO alumni who have traveled the journey upon which they are about to embark. The panelists offered a priceless glimpse into what it means to climb the corporate ladder.”


The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit


Pictured: UMO Alumni who spoke to students at the recent TSB Career Forum were (L-R):  Tilwanda Steinberg, Jessica McDermott, Richard Holland, Pansy Chase, Mark Bryan, Clint Britt, and Kevin Acree