This article was contributed by Jessica Shafer '25.
It is a week of new beginnings on UNCW’s campus with the first day of classes Wednesday and the school year’s initial UNCW Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting Saturday.
Set to make her debut on the board is Wanda Coley '96, who currently serves as the Vice President of Strategy with UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare and Retirement line of business.
The Seahawk blood runs thick for Coley, who not only loves Homecoming, but also met her husband at UNCW and whose daughter graduated from the school in 2014.
“Getting a good meal at Wagner and meeting new people are some of my favorite memories,” Coley said. “I loved attending sporting events and supporting the school and my fellow Seahawks.”
Coley spent the majority of her academic time on campus within the Cameron School of Business as an accounting major, which propped open the door to her current healthcare career.
“I was pursuing a path to join an accounting firm post-graduation, but while I was in school, I started a part-time role with a local home health agency as an office clerk,” Coley explained. “After graduation, I was offered a full-time position as a payroll coordinator. Shortly after, I was promoted to staff accountant. I fell in love with the healthcare space. It broadened my perspective. While I'm not in an accounting position now, I will always have that as my foundation.”
With her influx of healthcare knowledge, Coley has given her post-graduation impact on UNCW to the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS). She has served on the CHHS Dean’s Advancement Council and spoken on CHHS panels.
One of her favorite contributions was speaking on a panel assembled by Dr. Justine Reel, current interim dean of CHHS, as part of the Gender and Leadership Academy.
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