Cutting Through the Clutter

SMU Alumna Angela Braly, CEO of WellPoint, writes about her life for The New York Times.

By Angela Braly

I grew up in Texas, the fourth of five children. We all had jobs growing up. When I worked at a drive-through photo booth, I had to answer the phone by saying, "It’s a great day at Fox Photo."

I was also a waitress. Waitressing taught me about hard work and serving people. I worked with a woman who told her young children that Christmas was actually after the holiday so she could buy their presents on sale. It was the only way she could afford them.

I remember thinking that life isn’t easy for everyone. It inspired me to work hard and have opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise come along.

I was a business major at Texas Tech University and decided to become a lawyer when I kept running into the same answer. Whenever I would ask the reason behind a certain business decision, the professor would attribute it to a legal requirement. I didn’t want that to be the end of the story; I wanted to understand why.

I graduated in three years, in 1982, with a degree in finance, and then enrolled in the School of Law of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. I’ve found that a legal background allows you to cut through the clutter and identify the important issues.

Read the full story.

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