Persistence pays for Ukrainian
By Charlotte Crystal
Paisley is not afraid to knock on doors.
by Andrew Shurtleff
you try a tiny bit harder than everyone else, things will work
out, says the vivacious fourth-year student at the McIntire
School of Commerce. If you knock twice instead of once,
the door will open. Its amazing more people dont do
the mid-1990s, Paisley was an economics student at the Charkiv
Polytechnic Institute in Ukraine. The countries of the former
Soviet Union were undergoing wrenching changes economic,
social and political. Paisleys family had done well under
the old regime. Her mother was a nationally recognized clothing
designer, and her father was a state official in the Kishinev
region of Moldova who was always on TV.
unlike her father, who was a true believer in the old system,
Paisley was captivated by the promise of private enterprise in
a capitalist economy.
then, R.J. Reynolds sent a team of Americans to renovate an aging
tobacco factory in her hometown. Her class finagled a visit and,
through translators, pelted the Americans with questions. The
Americans responded with good humor, and one in particular caught
Lesyas eye. Before long, she and John Paisley had purchased
pocket English-Ukrainian dictionaries and started dating. Too
soon, the factory was finished and the Americans returned to the
United States. Beating the odds, Lesya received a visa to visit
were married in 1998, and Paisley soon enrolled in Wytheville
Community College. She graduated two years later and was named
Student of the Year. Paisley then entered U.Va.s McIntire
School of Commerce as a transfer student and is graduating May
18 with a bachelors degree in commerce.
still a student at Wytheville, Paisley joined the local chapter
of Phi Beta Lambda, an organization that promotes business leadership.
She was voted president and soon was visiting high schools in
Southwest Virginia, talking to students about leadership.
McIntire, Paisley restarted a chapter of Phi Beta Lambda with
six other students. This year the group boasts 35 paid members,
has brought in speakers from around Grounds, as well as from NASA
and Deloitte Consulting, and has supported numerous charitable
activities, from visiting local nursing homes to taking a group
of 20 McIntire students to Richmond for a March of Dimes walkathon.
Beta Lambda also sponsors scholarship competitions, which Paisley
has taken advantage of. Two years ago, she entered the competition
in quantitative methods and won first place in the nationals.
This year, she placed first in the regional contest for future
business executives and will compete in the nationals this summer.
Life is what you make of it, said Paisley. If
you want to enjoy it, theres nothing stopping you.