Commencement / Speaker Information
Chief Engagement Officer, Simple Change Wellness
Becky Jacobs has spent almost two decades as an operations leader focused on building teams, driving process improvements and delivering change management programs. She has a passion for helping others embrace new ideas and take action to achieve positive results.
Jacobs is chief engagement officer at Simple Change Wellness, which designs, implements, and manages customized wellness programs for local businesses.
She previously served as senior director of global operations change management at Red Hat. In addition to this role, Jacobs initiated and led the company’s Global Volunteer Program. She also spent 11 years as a leader at Bank of America in roles such as the vice president of the national credit card bankruptcy department.
Jacobs volunteers her time as past board chair of Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, and on the Advisory Board and Health / Wellbeing Committee of the Alexander YMCA. As an Executive MBA student at UNC Chapel Hill, she set a goal of completing a triathlon to help her remain focused on fitness while studying, working full time, and raising two young boys. She completed two half marathons during that time, and a half ironman shortly after graduating. Her journey, which included learning to swim, showed her the importance and impact of health and fitness.
She used her background in change management to slowly evolve her personal lifestyle, and enjoys helping others achieve the goal of becoming 'healthy, fit and strong'. She has combined her experience and passion to create an organization focused on helping local businesses design, implement and manage Wellness programs. As a Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist, she works with customers to create programs that improve the overall health of their employees, allow them to attract and retain top talent, increase productivity, improve collaboration and positively impact the engagement of their teams.
Jacobs holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Old Dominion University and an MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Previous Commencement Speakers
- 2016: Ellen Stofan, NASA chief scientist
- 2015: Jo Allen, '80, first alumna to serve as Meredith College president
- 2014: Susan Mboya, Coca-cola executive and philanthropist, founder of the Zawadi Africa Foundation
- 2013: Anne-Marie Slaughter, International affairs scholar and the first woman to serve as director of policy planning for the United States Department of State
- 2012: Silda Wall Spitzer, ’80, Former First Lady, State of New York
- 2011: Sally Brice-O'Hara, U.S. Coast Guard vice admiral
- 2010: Gretchen Holt Witt, '89, a pediatric cancer activist and co-founder of the non-profit Cookies for Kids' Cancer
- 2009: Sarah Parker, chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court
- 2008: Betty Ray McCain, former Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
- 2007: Elizabeth Edwards, author, advocate and attorney
- 2006: Beverly Perdue, North Carolina lieutenant governor
- 2005: Renee Montagne, National Public Radio correspondent and "Morning Edition" co-host
- 2004: Elaine Marshall, North Carolina Secretary of State
- 2003: Judy Woodruff, journalist for news organizations including CNN and PBS
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