50 for 50 Spotlight: Ansley Waller (MDR ’19)

“It takes time, patience, prayer, and trust to begin the next chapter. You have been trained by the best, and the right employers will recognize your unique perspective and value as a Pepperdine alumnus.”

For fifty years, Pepperdine Law has been training people for a variety of legal careers. In addition to a Juris Doctorate, students can pursue an LLM in Dispute Resolution, Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) or Certificate in Dispute Resolution at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. This week, we turn the spotlight on Straus alumna Ansley Waller. Ansley graduated this past spring with an MDR and is beginning her own next chapter as an associate consultant at KPMG’s People & Change practice.

What is your favorite part about your current position?

As I approach my start date in change management consulting, I am most looking forward to client-facing because I feel this is where my purpose in life and my background in Dispute Resolution will intersect. Through the inevitable daily client interactions, there is this potential to find personal satisfaction and fulfillment in my day to day as I walk with people through what can often be intimidating, work-related change. I am looking forward to using Straus training, KPMG resources, and my gifts to meet clients where they are at to offer understanding and guidance as well as lighten the load of those undergoing the changes being instilled. I look forward to hopefully helping people, problem solving, and having measurable impact on processes and company missions through this job each and every day.

How do you feel your education at Straus prepared you for the role you are in?

I owe the opportunity at hand completely to Straus. KPMG as an employer immediately recognized the uniqueness and value of my MDR degree and throughout my interview process became more and more interested in how my training prepared me to achieve optimal solutions involving real people when faced with real challenge. Because of courses such as Psychology of Conflict and Advanced Mediation, I was able to offer a different perspective as a “mediator-type” consultant that mediates between management and lower level employees. Meaning, in this role I could expound on my understanding of each “side” through empathic processes to have a deeper understanding of what is needed in order to have the most mutually beneficial solutions to the most pressing company issues.

What advice would you give our current MDR’s, non-JD’s, about job hunting once they have graduated?

Don’t give up ! It takes time, patience, prayer and trust to begin the next chapter. Follow through with every lead, and brainstorm networking connections, and something will fall into place. You have been trained by the best, and the right employers with the right jobs to utilize your education and skills will recognize your unique perspective and value as a Pepperdine alumnus and employee, just as KPMG has done with me.