The Success Story of University of Phoenix Alumnus Chad Parker

University of Phoenix can shape students from all backgrounds into high-achieving individuals, many of whom go on to relay success stories of their professional and personal lives. One such alumnus, Chad Parker, is the first person in his family to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree. From here, he has gone on to secure his ideal role at Blue Shield of California and inspire LGBTQ+ members across the organization and beyond.

Since graduating from University of Phoenix with his bachelor’s degree in Business Management, Parker has worked through the ranks at Blue Shield of California, becoming the organization’s director of talent mobility. He has also developed his company’s Pride employee resource group (ERG) from a grassroots organization into an established entity.

A Model of Hard Work for Parker

Parker grew up in Northern California as the second of three sons belonging to parents who worked for the government. Neither of his parents had college degrees, but they provided a clear model of hard work for Parker, who always intended to go to college both for professional reasons and to prove to himself that he could do it.

After deciding that state college wasn’t for him, Parker chose to study for his associate degree at a community college to save money. He accomplished this degree at age 20 while working full time and getting married.

A year later, Parker’s first child was born, and he needed to study for his bachelor’s degree at a flexible university that would allow him to attend evening classes rather than weekday classes. This way, Parker’s wife could continue working in retail, and the couple could juggle the requirements of work, education and raising a family. They found their solution in University of Phoenix, and, by the age of 26, Parker had completed his bachelor’s degree at the University, completed his master’s degree elsewhere, and had three children.

Becoming an LGBTQ+ Role Model

As Parker’s personal journey evolved, he faced the challenge of coming out as homosexual, which he has described as both “traumatic” and a “relief.” Parker has described the stress of hiding his sexuality on University of Phoenix’s blog, where he has also detailed the support that most of his family offered when he came out in 1999, plus the fact that this allowed him to flourish further in his personal and professional life.

Parker has explained that since he came out, he has stood up for his authentic self and attempted to be a role model for other members of the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace, hoping he can provide courage for others. He notes that not only were LGBTQ+ individuals like him unlikely to have been open about their sexuality while growing up in the eighties and nineties, but they certainly weren’t likely to have held leadership roles in employment. It has been important to Parker to demonstrate to others that his sexuality hasn’t prevented him from professional success and that he “didn’t have to hide.”

As part of this goal, Parker has grown his company’s Pride ERG from grassroots efforts into a strong group of 500-1,000 LGBTQ+ members and allies. Parker has co-led the ERG for two years and is both a participant and an advisor.

Parker’s co-worker Sonya Wade has collaborated with him on the Pride ERG and has commented on his commitment to shaping positive workplace cultures, explaining that his “personal mission” is to provide a safe place for everyone at Blue Shield and that he can be found on Pride panel discussions, volunteering in the community and advising those in need.

Mentoring Others at Blue Shield of California

Parker’s dedication to mentoring others and his ability to optimize processes make him an ideal fit for the director of talent mobility role at Blue Shield of California. In this position, he supervises four teams that oversee programs that develop leaders internally, examine coach executive performance and enable mentorship. Parker considers this role a rewarding one where he gets to enable important work every day.

Although Parker has found his ideal role in human resources (HR), he didn’t start out in this field. Having completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, he worked in banking before joining Blue Shield 11 years ago. It was through the Pride ERG that he connected with Blue Shield’s head of HR and moved into the department as a program manager. His operations background and newfound HR background helped him coach leaders, and now he supports leaders across the whole organization.

Wade has commented on his coaching style, billing him as “one of the most authentic, genuine leaders” she has ever worked for, considering him “fair, thoughtful, engaging and a great mentor.”

Using Education to Direct Success

Today, Parker and his husband work from home and spend plenty of time with Parker’s children and grandchildren. Together, they enjoy a life that they have fueled with dedication, discipline and, in Parker’s case, a strong education. Parker explains that his education has taught him he “can do anything.” Working on his professional development has always been important to him, and he is a great example of a University of Phoenix alumnus who has leveraged their education to define and fulfill their own idea of success.

Read more University of Phoenix alumni success stories.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix advances the educational goals of adult and nontraditional learners and helps students navigate the career options and degree programs that best meet their needs. The University aligns its degree programs with an abundance of in-demand career paths including in cybersecurity, nursing and business, and they provide online classes, flexible start dates and scholarship opportunities to make it possible for anyone to earn the degree they desire. On top of this, University of Phoenix’s Career Services for Life® commitment to active students and graduates provides the resources needed to be prepared when entering the workforce for no additional charge. These resources include education and networking opportunities, resume and interview support and career guidance. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu.

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