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Alumni Spotlight July 2015

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Laura Browning Watkins

Laura Browning Watkins '09

BS - Management 
Perdue School of Business

MAJOR FIELD OF STUDY: Management

CURRENT EMPLOYER: TranquilaTEA Tea Room and Gift Shop

CURRENT OCCUPATION: Entrepreneur

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER PATH:
I graduated from Salisbury in December of 2009. Unfortunately, it was during the height of the recession and jobs were hard to come by. I had always wanted to own my own business, so I started actively pursuing that goal. I discovered that an existing business was for sale in the area where I grew up. Sensing a possible investment opportunity, I decided to look into it further. Four months after graduating from Salisbury University, my business partner and I bought a restaurant. Or to be more accurate, as I'm sure my professors at SU would want me to be, we bought the assets of a restaurant. TranquilaTEA Tea Room and Gift Shop celebrated its 10th anniversary this past October, and this April marks its 5th anniversary with me as its co-owner. As the business has grown, so have I. I learn something new everyday. I love what I do, and am very thankful that SU and the Perdue School of Business equipped me with the knowledge to be able to pursue my dream of entrepreneurship.

MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU LEARNED WHILE ATTENDING SALISBURY UNIVERSITY:
That what you learn outside of the classroom is just as important as the lessons you learn inside of the classroom! There are so many important things I learned at SU that were definitely part of the college experience, but not necessarily learned while sitting in a lecture. Meeting new people, experiencing new things, and learning to manage my time to name just a few.

WHAT CAMPUS ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS WERE YOU INVOLVED WITH?
FBLA-PBL, Finance Club, Women's Club Rugby, intramural sports

BEST COLLEGE MEMORY:
I wish all the late nights, crazy adventures, and unforgettable times I had with all my SU friends could be condensed into one memory. But it simply can't be done. There was this one time my best friend and I somehow ended up on an air boat in the Florida Everglades while on spring break.... Long story, but a priceless memory!

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE SALISBURY UNIVERSITY?
I loved how Salisbury was the best of both worlds. It seemed to have all the advantages of a large university but with the personality of a small college. I was able to enjoy a wide range of social activities, small class sizes, a beautiful campus and receive a solid education all at the same time. And like any current or former student will tell you, being close to the beach is a wonderful bonus too!

IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE SALISBURY UNIVERSITY IN THREE WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE AND WHY?
Value- Not only is Salisbury a great value monetary wise for its students, but I will always value the friendships I made while attending SU. And you really can't put a value on the education one receives while attending SU. Pride- I still have a SU license plate on my car to this day. Why? Because I am proud of my alma mater. When ever anyone asks I happily tell them all about SU. It's a school to be proud of and I am proud to call myself an alumna. Growth- Salisbury is growing and changing. I just missed being able to enjoy the new Perdue School of Business building. I hear the campus is almost unrecognizable in just the few short years since I have graduated. But I see that as a positive thing. I grew there, not only as a student, but also as a person. So it's wonderful to see Salisbury University growing and developing as well!  

FAVORITE VACATION SPOT AND WHY?
I have been blessed to have taken some amazing trips throughout my life time. Costa Rica is absolutely stunning. The rainforest and the beaches are gorgeous. Another favorite is St. Lucia. My husband and I honeymooned there, so it will always have a special place in my heart. The people are very friendly and we were able to do some great scuba diving. I love to travel and hope to continue seeing as many new places as possible.

GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:
I feel that I have so much more to accomplish, do, and obtain. But so far, I am very proud of the fact that I was running a profitable business at the age of 22.

WHAT IS SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
My husband and I first met when we were 5! We were in the same kindergarten class. We didn't start dating until after I had graduated from SU. He is in the Navy and came home to visit family in the area. We reconnected and began dating shortly after.

HOBBIES/OTHER INTERESTS:
I love adventure. Skiing (snow and water) is one of favorite pastimes. I absolutely love to ride my fourwheeler! Fishing, travel, scrapbooking, painting and scuba diving are also some of my favorite hobbies which I never seem to get to do nearly often enough.

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