College of Business Senior Receives Inaugural Award for Exceptional Leadership

Kiara McGinnis ’19 is very active with campus life at Pacific. A marketing major in Pacific’s College of Business, she played on the softball team for three years, participates in the annual Lū'au, studied abroad in Australia, interned with a small marketing firm in California, is president of the Business Club, and is founder and president of another club that brings awareness to, and raises student involvement, in athletic events.

Kiara McGinnis '19

“I’m very present on campus,” McGinnis said. “I just try to get to know all my peers and professors, and wherever I can help out on campus, I love helping out.”

McGinnis is the inaugural recipient of the Barrett Business Leadership Award, awarded to a senior in the College of Business who demonstrates exceptional leadership potential and involvement with the university. The Barrett Business Leadership Award was created by Pacific trustee and alumnus, Bob Barrett ’66, retired vice president of sales for Mohawk Industries, to support and nurture future leaders in the business industry.  

“It’s just amazing being awarded for things that I don’t see as being huge accomplishments,” McGinnis said. “Day to day, I love being involved in the university and the College of Business with my peers, so to be rewarded by being given a scholarship about leadership was an amazing feeling.”

The first in her family to attend college, McGinnis is applying to MBA programs and hopes to work as a marketing specialist for a startup. As she looks to embark on an MBA, the scholarship award ensured that she was able to afford her senior year at Pacific, while also able to graduate with as little debt as possible.

“The scholarship has helped me with financing out my tuition and put me in a position where I won’t have to worry as much coming out of college,” McGinnis said. “I try every year to figure out how much I owe or how much I’m going to need to finance, and this has alleviated the pressure from having to worry about any of it.”

McGinnis recently had a chance to sit down for lunch with Barrett, the award’s donor, during the quarterly meeting of the Board of Trustees.

“It was amazing to be able to sit down and have lunch with him. To talk to him and get to know who he is, and he gets to know who I am,” McGinnis said. “To put a face to the name and just really let him know how grateful and appreciative I am to have received this scholarship.”

“It was wonderful to meet Kiara and hear how her experience at Pacific has prepared her for graduate work and a career in business,” said Barrett. “Kiara’s leadership in her coursework, athletics and student clubs demonstrates that qualities we valued when we created this award.”

Growing up in a small town in northern California, McGinnis developed an early love of softball into a recruiting attraction, which is how she wound up at Pacific. After she was recruited by Pacific’s softball coach, she came to visit campus during her senior year of high school.

“I came on campus and saw how involved the community was, how everyone here is a family, saw the spirit around campus,” McGinnis said. “I remember leaving that week and telling my parents, ‘This is where I want to be.’ I really thought this would be a place where I could excel and be able to graduate in four years.”

And now, with graduation only two months away, McGinnis is eagerly looking to the future, both to graduate school, and beyond.

“Once I get my MBA, I really want to become a marketing specialist for a startup lifestyle company,” McGinnis said. “I want to use the skills and knowledge that I’ve gained from Pacific, and also my graduate program, to be able to create, design and execute a marketing strategy that will be implemented and hopefully influence the company.

“I really want to be with a startup that’s hands on,” McGinnis said, “so that I can really apply what I’ve learned over the years.”


Friday, March 15, 2019