Anna Leverentz using lessons learned as History major to succeed in business

Context. Learner. Restorative. Intellectual. Strategic.

They’re the Cliftons StengthsFinder words that 2011 Marian University graduate Anna Leverentz uses to describe herself.

And, they’re the same words she uses to describe her fellow History degree holders.

But when it comes to labeling her fellow retail workers, they’re not the words she would choose.

“I’m different, but I think that’s why I’ve been able to succeed,” she said, having just been promoted from a Store Manager with LensCrafters in Minneapolis to the Manager of Store Excellence for its parent company, Luxottica, allowing her to assist with operations and visuals for 150 stores across Iowa, Minn., N.D., S.D., and Wis.

She now works a few hours from where she grew up, the 300-person town of Dent, Minn. But to gain the skills she’s utilized so effectively over the course of her career, she needed to travel a little bit further.

Originally planning to attend a bigger Minnesota university upon graduating high school in 2002, she began second-guessing her decision, randomly finding materials from Marian University that she had collected at a college fair months prior and scheduling a campus visit not too long after.

“Touring, I just loved how everyone seemed to know each other,” she said. “I was able to meet with the History chair right away, register for classes right away – it all just felt like everyone there was already invested in seeing me succeed and giving me a great college experience.”

Not too long after arriving to Fond du Lac she began working as an associate for Bath and Body works. She gradually worked her way from Associate to Team Lead to Co-Manager, culminating in a promotion and transfer to the Mall of America location shortly after earning her degree.

“The idea of working in a museum or for a historical society just didn’t interest me anymore, and I loved that I was able to use what I was learning at Marian to solve problems and think critically in retail, which was always changing, whereas history…wasn’t,” she said. “Going to Marian, I discovered my passion for being a teacher, coach, and working to solve problems for customers, so while I didn’t end up using my degree to go into anything history related, it definitely helped me get to where I am today.”

Eventually she left for Lenscrafters, but then after a year joined the Teavana Mall of America location, before its closing resulted in her returning to Lenscrafters.

“The further along I’ve gone, the more I’ve come to appreciate everything I learned as a History major,” she said. “The idea of taking something and looking at it objectively, analyzing how it happened, and apply that to what you will do moving forward, is something that I’ve routinely used to help the businesses I’ve worked for.”

Believe it or not, though, her connection to history doesn’t mean she isn’t a wait-and-see type of person.

“I’m not sure what the future holds, we’ll see what happens, but I have a lot of options and that’s exciting,” she said. “I know, that whatever I do, it will involve the lessons I learned at Marian.”