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Economics + MBA = success

| Sandy Taylor

Anna Cardarella is one of a growing number of UW-Eau Claire alumni who are keeping their talents local.

After graduating from UW-Eau Claire's business economics program in 2003, Cardarella stayed on to complete her MBA in business administration. She told us she places a high value on the education she received from UW-Eau Claire, adding, "I got a great return on investment from my BBA and MBA.” 

Since Cardarella is now the executive director of Western Dairyland Economic Opportunity Council, Inc., and in charge of a $12 million dollar annual budget, we tend to agree with her.

Cardarella oversees 140 employees providing desperately needed services in Buffalo, Eau Claire, Jackson and Trempealeau counties. The programs include Head Start, the Women’s Business Center, seven homeless shelters, home weatherization, Housing First, Child Care Partnership, Fresh Start and RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program). Her career is a success on more than one level, and her education has resulted in positive change for countless families and individuals. 

Anna Cardarella has also gained a reputation for expertise in her field, and is frequently quoted as an expert source in the Leader-Telegram. 

We asked Cardarella to share her thoughts about the education she received at UW-Eau Claire.

What would you want incoming Blugolds to know about the business economics major?

The faculty and staff of the department really care about the education you receive, and will help you in any way to be successful. You really get the opportunity to get to know your professors.

What aspect of your education best prepared you for the work you are doing?

In a nonprofit, it’s all about scarcity. We have seemingly unlimited human needs with very limited resources. We do a great job collaborating with other agencies and community stakeholders, but there is always so much more we can do to serve those in need. The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and specifically the faculty and staff of the Econ department, prepared me to be a critical-thinker, a problem-solver — a better citizen of the world.


Photo: Western Dairyland executive director Anna Cardarella speaks with co-worker Peter Jones, another UW-Eau Claire economics graduate.