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Broad College Employee Spotlight: Geneviève Risner

By Grace Griffin, student writer
Monday, December 18, 2023

Spartans are known for our determination to make a difference, and one way this ethos is brought to life at the Broad College of Business is through our employees. In this Broad College Employee Spotlight Q&A series, get to know the many passionate faculty and staff members across the college.

Geneviève Risner headshot

Geneviève Risner

Since 2010, Geneviève Risner has served as the director of the Ernst & Young Communication Center, a resource for the Department of Accounting and Information Systems’ M.S. in Accounting program. During her time in this important role, she has helped graduate students develop their professional skills in areas like writing, presenting, working with others and conducting successful interviews. To guide Broad Spartans to their achievements, Risner supervises graduate students from other departments on campus who work as communication consultants at the EYCC and help their peers on projects and interviews. Additionally, she collaborates with accounting faculty to provide workshops that allow graduate students to get support on communication projects in their courses and practice communication and professionalism skills.

On top of those responsibilities, she is a professor for COM 875: Communication Leadership Skills in Organizations. In the role, Risner teaches skills in leadership, teamwork, providing and receiving feedback, public speaking, writing, and many more topics. Students grow their strengths and improve their weaknesses in preparation for the professional world, so when the time comes, they are more prepared.

Broad News: What inspired you to begin working at Michigan State University?

Risner: I started working at Michigan State University as a graduate assistant while earning my Ph.D. in communication. After teaching courses in MSU’s Department of Communication in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, I had an assistantship in the EYCC as a communication consultant during the third and final year of my doctoral program. During that time, I loved working with graduate accounting students on refining their professional communication. The students were incredibly passionate about growing their skills, and I enjoyed contributing to their professional development and seeing their confidence and skillset soar over the course of a year. Working in the EYCC gave me a clear sense of purpose.

Broad News: What do you like most about being an employee at the Broad College?

Risner: One of the aspects I like most about being an employee for the Broad College is the support to innovate. I enjoy the willingness of leadership to try new approaches, technologies or teaching strategies to enhance students’ experiences and learning.

During my time working for the Broad College, I have been able to pilot-test virtual reality technology to teach public speaking; host a teambuilding experience involving mystery, dinner-theater actors; work with the theater department to teach impromptu speaking; and reimagine and teach MKT 250 in the 2023–24 academic year, to name only a few opportunities. Having the support to test new teaching strategies that engage students in creative ways makes my job fun.

Broad News: What motivates or renews your commitment to MSU on a regular basis?

Risner: I continue to enjoy directing the EYCC and working with students on developing and refining their professional communication. My favorite part of my job is hearing from students how they apply what they learned in the EYCC or COM 875 to secure a job, negotiate for a higher salary, give an engaging presentation, receive accolades on a written project at work, feel confident communicating an idea or something else that makes them feel proud of their accomplishments. Being even a small part of another person’s success makes my heart happy.

Broad News: What are you most looking forward to this academic year?

Risner: This academic year, I am teaching business communication to undergraduate students in MKT 250. I am excited for the opportunity to help undergraduate students develop a strong foundation of professional communication skills they can use in their other courses and careers. I am also excited to work with the course’s graduate teaching assistants to help them develop their teaching, communication and leadership skills.

Broad News: What’s been one high point of your time at the Broad College?

Risner: My time working at the Broad College has been filled with several high points, and they are always the moments when students express joy in how they used their communication skills to succeed in a new endeavor. Being part of developing students’ self-efficacy brings me happiness on a regular basis.

Broad News: What is one fun fact about you?

Risner: My family and I live on a hobby farm with five goats, three bunnies, a chicken and a million DIY projects happening all the time.

Broad News: What advice would you give someone new at Broad?

Risner: The Broad College is filled with brilliant, hardworking, compassionate people who make a positive difference every day. Learn from those around you. Anyone you ask is always willing to help in some way.

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