Christy Weir Krueger ’85 is currently the CFO for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. As Vice-President and now President-Elect of the Rhodes College Alumni Association, Krueger works tirelessly with other AAEB members to assist Rhodes College to provide students and alums opportunities and connections in their communities.
Alumni Relations: How did you decide on attending Rhodes College and how was your experience?
Christy Weir Krueger: Initially, I was headed to either Mississippi State or Alabama; however, I had a high school advisor – Mrs. Ruth Brewer – who told me Southwestern at Memphis was the place for me and wanted me to apply. I listened. I applied. Mrs. Brewer was right – as always!
The four years at Rhodes College were truly some of the best in my life. I had amazing professors, especially Dr. Sue Legge. What an incredible woman! She provided great insight in the classroom and was the key in insuring our successes – making sure each of us had a job after graduation. The one mistake I made after graduation was not stopping by to get a hug from her before I sat for the CPA exam the first time. I did stop by the second time for that magical hug – resulting in passing all four parts.
Another strong woman who mentored me and helped me become the person I am today was Margaret “Teter” Hyde. Teter was one of my Chi Omega advisors and a member of the Rhodes College Trustees. She instilled in me to take a risk, believe in myself, lead from the heart, have a sense of humor and, most importantly, to enjoy the moment.
Besides a great education, Rhodes also taught me the value of friendship. Several of my best friends were made at Rhodes and I am thrilled to continue to call them friends today.
AR: How did your experience at Rhodes shape your career path, as you were a history major in college and now work as the CFO for the Make-a-Wish Foundation?
CK: One of the first things my mom asked me when I told her I was majoring in history was, “And what do you think you will do with that major?” My reply, “I am going to be a CPA.”
The beauty of Rhodes and other liberal arts colleges is that there is more to your education than your major. Yes, I took all the classes that were required to sit for the exam; however, I also took classes that broadened my horizon, opened my eyes to new thoughts and ideas, and taught me the pleasure of learning – something I continue to love.
AR: Make-A-Wish Foundation does such amazing work. What is a typical day like for you at your job?
CK: My job is really behind the scenes. My team and I are here to support the team members that are raising the money and granting the wishes. “Typical” is not a word that we use in the Make-A-Wish world. One day I am reviewing the numbers, preparing budgets and making sure our internal controls are tight. The next day I may be drying the money collected in the rain, training a new team member, or loading a car for our next event. My job – along with my A-Team – is to provide the best service we can to the other departments, volunteers, donors, and especially our wish families.
AR: What has been your favorite “wish” during your time with them?
CK: I had the privilege of volunteering on the BEST WISH EVER! The night before the wish child turned 18, my best friend and I went to her house to find out what her one, true wish was. Here I am thinking she is about to leave for college and would want all the stuff that a teenager needs before they leave home. Boy, was I wrong!
Without hesitation, Adriana stated she wanted to meet the Red Hot Chili Peppers! And she did!
The RHCP came to Memphis and Adriana was their guest of honor. After being whirled away in a limo, a quick shopping spree for the right outfit, hair and make-up, and being welcomed to the FedEx Forum by paparazzi – Rhodes College Chi Omegas – Adriana got to meet her favorite band.
When a wish child wants to meet a celebrity, we tell them to expect to spend 10-15 minutes with them and have items with them that they want autographed. The Red Hot Chili Peppers spent almost an hour with Adriana in their “living room”. By the end of the visit you would have thought that RHCP came to Memphis to meet her – not for the concert.
Adriana and I stay in touch. Besides getting married, she states that her wish is one of her favorite memories. That’s what we do! We create memories for these kids – replacing the doctors, hospitals and treatment, at least for a few moments.
AR: What advice would you give a current student who may be interested in a similar career path?
CK: If service is your passion, follow your heart! I walk away each day knowing that another child is going on a trip, getting something they wanted, meeting their favorite celebrity, and pretending to be a princess for a day.
AR: You have stayed very connected with Rhodes since graduating, specifically serving on the Alumni Association Executive Board. During Homecoming 2019, you will be sworn in as the next Rhodes Alumni Association President. Can you talk a little about the importance of this role and the importance of your continued advocacy?
CK: Volunteering is very important to me, especially if I can “give back” to a place that gave me so much. Serving on the AAEB has been a great opportunity for me to reconnect with fellow classmates and to meet other alums that I would not have met.
The students today are being shaped by the same values as we were. Collectively, the alumni board members share the understanding of how Rhodes shaped our lives. We know that Rhodes is a big part of our legacy and who we are today. The role of the Alumni Board is to be an extra hand for the staff at Rhodes. What can we do to help? What does the college need from the board and all alumni?
AR: What are your main goals for the AAEB during your two-year term?
CK: It is a very exciting time to be stepping into this role. Rhodes College will be completing and sharing their strategic plan. I am sure part of the plan will include alumni. I am hoping this section will better define the needs of the college and allow the AAEB to determine what we can do to help Rhodes reach these strategic goals.
Until we know, I have a few goals:
- Continue to work with each department to determine their needs from the AAEB and alumni. Our job is to provide assistance. If alumni are needed to speak at college fairs, we need to make sure one is there. If students need an internship, we need to have available positions in Memphis and other cities.
- Get alumni involved! How can we get alumni to share their stories, contribute to the Annual Fund and provide assistance to current students and new alumni?