Janet L. McKinley recently established the Janet McKinley MBA Golf Endowment in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration. Earnings from the endowment will fund the newly established “Grads to Golf.” The program promotes an interest in golf among National Association of Women MBA (NAWMBA) student members through golf lessons, tournaments and events, speakers, and “young professional” membership in the Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA). The program is a joint venture between the Lady Vols Golf program, the UT chapter of NAWMBA, the EWGA National Headquarters office, and the local Knoxville chapter of EWGA.
McKinley is a 1980 alumna of the UT College of Business Administration and former chief corporate auditor for BellSouth Corporation in Atlanta. She retired in 2007 after 28 years of service.
McKinley has also established the Robert and Janet McKinley Auditing Excellence Fund in the Department of Accounting and Information Management, the Bob and Barbara McKinley Student Enrichment Endowment in the UT Institute of Agriculture, and the Women in Business Endowment for student athletes enrolled in the College of Business Administration.
She has loyally served UT through the UT Development Council (including as chairwoman from 2011-2013), the UT Accounting Roundtable, the UT Alliance of Women Philanthropists, the UT Foundation Board, and the UT Alumni Association Board of Governors.
“My experience in business is that golf is an equalizer – it opens doors, helps you meet colleagues and work associates, and allows you to conduct business with clients and customers outside of the office,” said McKinley. “But, throughout my career, I observed that women enter the game of golf too late in life – and they enter with a lot of apprehension about playing bad golf, not knowing the rules, and not understanding the etiquette of the game.
“This program is designed to bring young professional women into the sport early in their careers. It is my vision that after this program, the women in UT’s NAWMBA chapter will 1) understand of the value of golf in the business world, 2) be able to play the game of golf, and 3) use golf to enhance – and advance – their professional careers. Not only do the participants get hands-on golf instruction and mentoring from other women who play the game, they also hear from prominent businesswomen and golf industry leaders about the potential value of golf in their business careers.”
The program has had an outstanding impact on the MBAs, said Amy Cathey, director of the MBA program at UT.
“The Grads to Golf program has been an incredible opportunity for NAWMBA members to develop life skills that will benefit them both personally and professionally. They have had excellent instruction from the Lady Vols golf coaches, alumnae, and golf professionals who have spoken to the group, and from Janet herself. The students are so appreciative. In fact, they look forward to supporting the development of future Grads to Golf initiatives,” said Cathey.
McKinley hopes that the UT model will be used as the foundation for similar programs at other universities and colleges across the country.