Alum Spotlight: Brandy Yelton

Written by Guest Blogger November 10, 2020

Please introduce yourself!

My name is Brandy Yelton. I attended the CIMBA program in the summer of 2003 and graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2005.

What are you currently up to?

After graduation, I moved to Houston and have lived here for most of the last fifteen years. The mountains of Arkansas are still “home”, but the amazing Tex-Mex, super friendly people, and abundant sunshine make Houston a great place to live. My husband and I have two young and very energetic kids – Nora is four and Brooks is two.  I am currently the Director of Treasury and Marketing for an independent oil and gas company.  My husband and I both work in the oil and gas industry, so it’s been a really challenging six months since Covid and the OPEC price war have turned the oil markets upside down. We are both thankful to be employed! We spend the weekends trying to keep up with our kids. We try to get outside as much as possible and have found some cool new parks to explore recently.

How did study abroad, or the CIMBA program in particular, contribute to where you are today?

The CIMBA program really sparked my interest in two things – international travel (especially Italy!!) and international business. My first job out of college was as an internal auditor for an international company so I was able to continue that international travel for a couple years. Travel for fun is way better than working though! I was fortunate enough to get to go back to Italy a few years ago with my husband and friends, and it was an amazing trip. The study abroad program really highlighted some of the cultural differences to consider with international business. I currently work for a foreign-owned company, so I’m still applying what I learned today. When I was 20 years old, I had no idea that so much of what I would learn that summer would be a benefit to my career, but it truly did!

What was your favorite part of the program?

The vino…I kid…although that was in the top five. I still remember the feeling of excitement and independence I felt on the first train ride from the airport. Leaving home to go to college was one thing, but leaving the country with one backpack was a whole different level of adventure. I also loved that we were immersed in the culture of the small village. It gave me such an appreciation for the Italian culture and an opportunity to learn that the rat race we run in the US is a choice…not a requirement, and we can take opportunities to slow down and appreciate the history of a place or a simple beauty. It’s something I am still working on now – especially with my children!