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New York Times interviews NIU alumna

March 13, 2014
Sheila Talton

Sheila Talton

Success comes in many forms, as proven by Sheila Talton, an NIU alumna who blossomed on her second try at college.

The New York Times interviewed Talton recently about her life struggles and got advice from her about what makes a successful employee.

She told the newspaper that she flunked out during her first time at college because she was so involved in organizing civil rights protests during the era of the Vietnam War.

After encouragement from a salesman whom she met while working as a secretary, she decided to give it a second try. She went back to NIU, made the dean’s list and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1980.

Talton is now chief executive of Gray Matter Analytics, a consulting firm for financial services and health care.

As a hiring expert, she said the best employees are those who readily adapt to change and take ownership “to steer through the choppy waters.”

She also recommended to graduating students that they find the voids at their company.

“There’s no shortage of things that are not getting done. In large organizations and small ones, there are always voids,” she said. “Go fill them.”