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Accounting and Finance

Alumni

  • Keena Johnson '06

Keena Johnson ’06

Class Year

’06

Major(s)

Accounting, Business

Current home

Chicago, Ill.

Current position

Controller at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago

Keena Johnson ’06 works as a controller at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He is responsible for the budget and works closely with the patient care team to ensure they have the resources needed to deliver exceptional care.

Graduating cum laude from Carthage with accounting and business degrees, Mr. Johnson uses the critical thinking skills he acquired at Carthage to problem solve the unique challenges that COVID-19 has brought forth, especially for hospitals. Because of the constantly changing rules and regulations, Mr. Johnson has depended on high-level communication and problem-solving skills which he credits Professor David Brunn for instilling in him.

While at Carthage, Mr. Johnson was actively involved in the men’s basketball team as well as many committees and social groups. He thanks his classmates and teachers for encouraging and supporting him while pursuing his goals.

What have you enjoyed most about your career?

“I’ve enjoyed the continuous learning. I work in an administrative role but work closely with medical professionals and learn new things from them every day. It’s also fulfilling to know that the role I play contributes to helping people every day.”

How did Carthage prepare you?

“My overall experience at Carthage helped prepare me for my career. I played basketball, graduated cum laude, and was very active in committees and other social groups. Just being able to juggle all of those responsibilities helped prepare me for my career. Also, my advisor/mentor, Prof. Brunn, played a huge role in helping me shape the decisions I made post-graduation.”

Why did you choose Carthage?

“I chose Carthage because I wanted to be part of its basketball team.”

What opportunities were made possible because of your Carthage experience?

“I have great relationships that I made at Carthage that I still have today. I also don’t think I would have gone into public accounting and became a CPA if it wasn’t for my Carthage experience (classmates, teachers, etc.) which was the springboard that got me to where I am today.”

How has your liberal arts education benefitted you?

“I work in a hospital so critical thinking and attacking problems are daily activities. As COVID-19 struck us last year we had to be able to pivot on a daily basis to ensure we have the capacity to care for our patients. This sometimes called for high-level communication, creative problem-solving solutions, and the ability to just be nimble. In the end, we were able to manage the crisis as well as any hospital in the nation. I like to think that my background at Carthage prepared me for these types of moments.”

What Carthage professors played a part in your success and how?

“Prof. Brunn. He was a brilliant and great mentor to me. I really don’t think I would be where I am today without his guidance.”

Tips for current Carthage students:

“Jump in feet first and step out of your comfort zone. It’s easy to stay in a bubble and just try to get in and get out of college. The experience of college is as important as the books and the grades. So get out there and meet people that don’t look like you, ask questions, build relationships, and try to leave Carthage better than when you got there.”

Favorite Carthage memories:

“Some of the best memories I have were just sitting at Einstein’s between classes and hanging with classmates. Also, playing sports at Carthage was great.”

What role have the values in Carthage's mission, "Seeking Truth, Building Strength, Inspiring Service — Together" played in your life?

“That’s a mission we should all embrace. I think it is something I strive to achieve every day. In today’s climate it is easy to get jaded and give up, but at the core of the mission is a lifelong commitment to be better, do better, and help others. That’s how I try to live my life.”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage’s Velocity Consulting was the first 100% student-run full-service consulting agency in the country. Students gain incredible experience while providing marketing, branding, accounting, finance, and other support to regional clients. Other schools have since copied the Velocity model, including Harvard University.

    • Taking you past just studying the theories of business, Carthage’s READY™ Curriculum Design, a proprietary student-centered philosophy, helps develop the best-prepared business students.

    • Located in the heart of the Chicago-Milwaukee business corridor, you will have plenty of options for internships and jobs.

    • Carthage accounting, finance, management, and marketing professors regularly lead J-Term study tours to such destinations as Sweden, England, Ireland, and China, where students meet with executives and learn first-hand how global businesses operate.

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $22,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

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