James Karr

James Karr headshot

My degree has already allowed me to play a more integral part in my company's leadership. The respect and deference a leadership degree from Norwich carries cannot be understated.

Q: “Tell us about yourself.”
A: “I am a 45-year-old husband and father of two living in the greater Tampa Bay area. I am an avid snowboarder, hockey player, and barbecue enthusiast. I am active in my local community through various charitable organizations supporting veterans, their families, and the families of our fallen.

Professionally, I am the senior program manager for a technology consulting firm supporting the defense industry. We are the fastest-growing company in the southeastern United States and have been one of the top 5 small businesses in the Tampa Bay area for three years. I am also a 25-year military veteran, 12 years on active duty in the U.S. Army, five years in the Army Reserves, and 8 (and counting) in the Navy Reserves. I have spent most of my career in various special operations units and have deployed in support of the U.S. mission in Iraq four times."

Q: “What was your motivation for pursuing your degree?”
A: “I pursued my Master of Science in Leadership degree because I am passionate about leading organizations that want to affect meaningful change in their industry. By coupling my practical leadership experience with solid foundational practices, I am better equipped to remain on the leading edge of leadership trends and can help my company continue to be an innovator and disruptor in our industry. As a Norwich alum, I saw how the Norwich network supports its own and encourages us to lead in our respective professions. Norwich was the natural choice when I decided to continue my formal education with a master's degree!”

Q: “What are your future professional plans?”
A: “As my company grows, I am poised to be an integral part of our growth plan. Within two years, I will be the Director of Programs to establish a satellite office in Colorado to further our investment with the U.S. Space Force by 2028. Additionally, I am investing heavily in our company's participation in the ‘Hiring our Heroes’ program, supporting transitioning veterans as they integrate into industry.”

Q: “Why did you choose Norwich?”
A: “I completed my undergrad through the Norwich strategic studies and defense analysis program, so Norwich was the natural choice when I decided to continue my education. Norwich's reputation is something that carries weight, be it online or on-campus.”

Q: “Did you have any uncertainties with choosing an online program?”
A: “As a father to two active teenagers, the traditional on-campus format was not a viable option. Additionally, the reputation of Norwich's online program coupled with my familiarity with the online format made Norwich the obvious choice.”

Q: “Prior to beginning your courses, what were some of your expectations for an online degree program?”
A: “I expected to be challenged to maintain a high standard of academic rigor while having the flexibility to work around important life events. I knew I would be among other driven professionals and looked forward to networking and forming lasting relationships with them.”

Q: “What advice would you give future students enrolling in one of Norwich's online programs?”
A: “Time management is essential to success. You can easily integrate the weekly course load into your schedule with a little planning. Use the discussion forums as a sounding board for ideas and to build the framework for your capstone research. Everyone in your cohort is there to succeed with you; use them as resources and be a resource for them in return.”

Q: “How do you plan to use your degree in your career?”
A: “My degree has already allowed me to play a more integral part in my company's leadership. The respect and deference a leadership degree from Norwich carries cannot be understated. Additionally, a post-secondary degree makes me more competitive for promotion in the Navy Reserves and will continue to serve me well as I assume greater leadership positions.”

Q: “What has been your biggest personal or professional success since starting your degree?”
A: “Through a sequence of fortuitous events, I have been able to execute my capstone change initiative idea and see it start to unfold in real-time. With the encouragement of my professors, I am advising on a change initiative that will revolutionize how the Navy and Navy Reserve integrate my career field into a vital real-world need.”

Q: “Please tell us about a time in which you could put your knowledge gained in the classroom to work immediately at your job.”
A: “I briefed my change initiative vision to my commanding officer, who immediately briefed it to senior Navy leadership. Within weeks, I had the support of my leadership to form a team and execute elements of that vision. As a result, my Navy Reserve unit now has a permanent role in supporting Carrier Strike Groups forward-deployed.”

Q: “What aspects of your Norwich experience will you carry most strongly with you?”
A: “My cohort. I believe that by completing most of the program during the COVID-19 pandemic, we emerged closer and more transparent with each other than we would have been pre-pandemic. Even after graduation, our group continues to share ideas and hardships with each other, has started a monthly book club, and is looking for ways to continue to collaborate professionally.”