People of Point Park: Annamarie Lang, '89, and her path from varsity basketball to the executive boardroom Monday, September 28, 2015
Degree Earned: B.A. Journalism and Communications
Class Year: 1989
Current Occupation: Senior Vice President of Employee Engagement
Employer: Lee Hecht Harrison
Current Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Clubs, Teams, Interests on Campus: Women's Varsity Basketball, United Student Government
"What I wish I knew at 22"
When asked what piece of advice she would share with the 22-year-old version of herself, fresh out of Point Park University with a degree in journalism and communications, Annamarie Lang, '89, did not hesitate in her response: "Embrace difference."
"Pay attention to difference. Embrace difference. Go and seek difference. My Dad used to say something that I didn't understand at the time, but as I grew older I understood more and more. He said, 'Normal is what you grow up with.'
"Sometimes it's good to go out and find that new normal. Your normal is not THE normal. Everything that I've learned through my travel and my experience is to embrace difference. It has enriched my life to know that my way isn't the only way."
Not just a coach, but a mentor
As one of seven children, scholarships were an absolute necessity for Annamarie to attend college. Most of Annamarie's siblings opted to remain in their home state of Ohio and attend Ohio State University, so it came as a huge surprise when she was recruited to play basketball at Point Park University in Downtown Pittsburgh. According to Annamarie, the decision to enroll and pursue a degree in journalism and communications was one of the best she ever made.
"I remember sitting in a little restaurant on the Boulevard of the Allies and watching my father and Luke Ruppel (then head coach of Women's Basketball) have a conversation about me. It was during that conversation that I knew they both wanted the best for me. My Dad was always looking out for the next best thing for me - what could you do better at, what could you have fun with, what could you excel at, and when I came to Point Park, that influence didn't stop. Luke picked up right where my Dad left off. A lot of times, kids get lost when they go to college, but I didn't. I had a great mentor in Luke immediately."
From basketball to the board room
Today, Annamarie is a senior vice president of employee engagement at Lee Hecht Harrison. "I help organizations around the world look at their leaders and talent and make them better. How I achieve that goal happens in a variety of ways." Annamarie's beginnings in this field can be traced directly back to her experience as a campus leader in the United Student Government and Women's Varsity Basketball, as well as to her academic roots in communications.
"I'm fortunate as to how my career has progressed. I have fallen into lots of great experiences and I've been in the right place at the right time in some cases. In others, it's about trying something new. When you try something, it's not about failure vs success - it's about learning something - and being open to a new idea of normal."