Have a plan and a focus, but be flexible. That was the message students in the Albany State University College of Business heard Monday from Debra Capers, a supervisory information technology specialist for the Marine Corps Logistics Command, during the Business Lecture Series.
Capers, who holds a bachelor’s degree in management from Albany State, told students she left her hometown of Sylvania, Ga., because she no longer wanted to work in her father’s butterbean and pea fields. At Albany State she chose to major in business because of the numerous opportunities possible in the business field. Her career began in a cooperative education program at the Marine Corps Logistics Command in Albany where she entered data using a keypunch card, an early form of inputting digital data.
With more than 25 years of experience in the IT field, Capers is now the supervisor of the Plans and Policy Branch of the IT Department at the Marine Corps Logistics Command. She’s also learned the importance of having what she called “your road map.”
“You’ve got to have a plan if you’re going to be successful,” Capers said. “You’ve got to know where you’re going and how you’ll get there.”
She said that having such a plan puts dreams within reach, provides peace of mind, enables control and gives the person purpose.
Over the course of her career in IT, Capers has also witnessed the numerous changes in the IT field.
“You’ve got to be on your game,” she told the business students. “You’ve got to be able to change. A large portion of what you learn today in your courses of study, in five years it will be obsolete in IT.”
Capers recommended that students read magazines and Internet news sources to stay abreast on the new trends in IT. More importantly, she recommended students choose an area of interest.
“You must have a focus on where you want to go,” she said. “Changes happen so rapidly that you won’t be able to keep up with everything. Concentrate on one area.”
When asked by a student if there was an area in which she felt the least prepared when she first entered the workforce, Capers explained that she lacked the communication skills she needed. Now Capers is the founder and president of Clearly Speaking by Debra, LLC, which provides communications training for business professionals.
Capers’ lecture was the second in the ASU College of Business Lecture Series. The next lecture will be presented at 11 a.m. Monday, March 14. Dr. Edward Bass, a medical doctor and Howard University graduate, will be the speaker. On March 28 James Linton, a weapon system support manager for the U.S. Marine Corps, will lecture. On April 11 Ronnie D. Richardson, an ASU alumnus and assistant director of player development for the Atlanta Braves, will be the featured lecturer. On April 25 Bernadette Johnson-Hairl, an accountant, author, business consultant, professional speaker and trainer, will be the series’ final speaker.
All lectures in the series will be held in room 127 of Peace Hall at 11 a.m. For more information, contact the ASU College of Business at (229) 430-2749.
Photo caption: Debra Capers, a supervisory IT specialist with the Marine Corps Logistics Command, speaks with Bruce Colvin II, a sophomore accounting major, on Monday afternoon following Capers’ presentation as part of the Albany State University Business Lecture Series. The lecture was held in Peace Hall on the ASU campus.