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OPTIONS Grad on Fast Track

CM_FredTaylor: Fred Taylor
Fred Taylor

Fred Taylor isn’t shy about his career goals.

“I want to get into the executive ranks and ideally be a CFO (chief financial officer) here at Boeing,” says the energetic 30-year-old. Heading into his seventh year at one of the largest aerospace and defense corporations in the world, Taylor, who earned his master’s in management from Fontbonne University in 2006, seems to be on his way.

Recently promoted to enterprise auditor, Taylor flies around the world to ensure that various business segments within the Boeing Company meet all regulations and standards.

“I get a lot of opportunities to see different functions of business,” says Taylor, who holds a bachelor’s in finance and an MBA from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. “And being a part of a multi-billion dollar company is exciting.”

Life is moving fast for Taylor, who, in addition to his new position, is expecting his first child with wife Regina in May. “Yeah, the baby is coming whether we’re ready or not,” he jokes. Although he’ll now travel up to 75 percent of the time, for Taylor, it’s worth it. “It will be beneficial to visit different sites and cities and see how they do things there – it’s an opportunity to learn more.”

And learning more is something Taylor is passionate about. With an MBA in hand, he wanted to round out his education.
“The OPTIONS degree gave me a lot of tools I’ll need for managing people at the executive level. I had great classmates
from diverse backgrounds, and the flexibility was great since I have a full-time job,” Taylor says.

In fact, he enjoyed OPTIONS so much, he started teaching for the program. “Teaching was wonderful. I wanted something to counteract what I do at work. It was very fulfilling and helped me with my professional career – it definitely sharpened my public speaking skills,” says Taylor, who taught personal finance and financial management. Although he won’t have the time to teach in the near future, Taylor hopes to get back in the classroom when time permits.

Born in Chicago and one of five siblings, Taylor always dreamed of working for a large corporation. “My uncle was a vice president at Hewlett-Packard and my role model. I always wanted to do the corporate America thing,” he says.

When asked what the key to success is, Taylor doesn’t hesitate to answer. “Hard work. When you work hard to understand your product, it shows credibility. Once you have that credibility and people see what a leader you are, you can propel yourself in whatever field you’re in.”

Taylor is putting his theory to work as he moves up the ranks toward his dream job. “You have to shoot high,” he says.