Alyson McNair

Graduate Student

Graduate student Alyson McNair on campus at Marymount UniversityMajor

M.B.A. and a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising.

Why did you decide to come to Marymount?

I initially started my career with a degree in political science and worked as a staffer on Capitol Hill before landing a job for a local defense contracting company. In 2019, I decided to switch gears. That year, I founded my nonprofit Perfect, Inc., and decided to further my education. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to be a part of the fashion industry. Marymount was the only school in the area that offered a dual degree pathway for me to earn an M.B.A. and a bachelor’s in Fashion Merchandising – that’s what sealed the deal for me! 

What is the mission of Perfect, Inc.?

Perfect, Inc. is a nonprofit that provides employment training, lifestyle coaching and mentorship to formerly incarcerated women. Our organization aims to empower these women with employment, fair pay and benefits. We also focus on the mental health of our clients to set them on the best path forward as they re-enter the workforce and rebuild their lives.

My mother led a nonprofit organization when I was growing up. Her organization helped seniors access needed resources, like Medicaid. Watching her work fortified in me the importance of helping our community. 

Perfect, Inc. launched just a couple of months before I enrolled at Marymount. 

What has your experience been returning to the classroom?

Being a mom of two and coming back to school to earn two degrees, I have to say that the community here has been very supportive. During the pandemic, my courses have been online via Zoom, and there have been times when my kids need my attention. My professors have been understanding and accommodating of that. Balancing my responsibilities as a mom, student and president of a nonprofit, it’s meant so much to me to have such supportive professors. 

How will your Marymount education propel your career goals?

Right now, my team at Perfect, Inc. and I are examining how to create a sustainable source of revenue so that we can continue to help others. One idea is to create a t-shirt business! We’re in the development stage of creating graphics and text designs and assessing how we’ll fulfill orders. I’m using skills from my M.B.A. courses to effectively manage Perfect, Inc. while also using my Fashion Merchandising training to execute this creative vision to sustain the nonprofit. 

What advice do you have for fellow students and prospective students on balancing parenthood and academics?

There’s a scripture that says, “follow those that through faith and patience have inherited the promise.” For me, that means finding a mentor or support group that can help guide you through your career goals. Also, don’t be afraid to question the way in which things have previously been done – move forward in a way that works best for you!

For those who are just starting out or for those who have more experience, like me, I proudly say ‘Go Marymount!'”