Students in Southeastern’s new Professional Sales Program will now benefit from a state-of-the-art training room thanks to a $100,000 donation from Northwestern Mutual. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held recently to celebrate the opening of the Northwestern Mutual Training Room located in Garrett Hall.

Managing Partner of Louisiana and Mississippi Steven Dugal and Managing Director of the Mandeville and Gulfport District Offices Paul Hodge were recognized as donors with matching gifts from Northwestern Mutual’s corporate office.

Southeastern’s Professional Sales Program was created to draw high-ability students toward selling as a career, better prepare those students for early success in professional selling careers, and connect them with sales professionals in the region. According to research conducted by the Sales Education Foundation, more than 50 percent of business school graduates enter the workforce in a sales-oriented position.

Dean of the College of Business Toni Phillips said the core sales curriculum consists of courses in personal selling, advanced professional selling, and sales management and is supported with other marketing courses in consumer behavior, marketing research, and marketing strategy. With the current goal to prepare students for success in the sales profession, the program has been developed for marketing majors with a future goal of including those majoring in areas outside of business who wish to pursue a sales certificate.

“We know that professional sales is not only a starting point for careers, but is becoming more and more important across all sectors of the economy,” said Phillips. “The Southeastern Professional Sales Program will help train the next generation of sales leaders, and the investment that Northwestern Mutual is making demonstrates that the program is on the right track. We are really appreciative of Northwestern Mutual.”

An important objective of the program, Phillips added, is to connect sales program students with sales professionals and organizations through role-play competitions, internships, guest speakers, panel discussions and career opportunities.

For more information about Southeastern’s Professional Sales Program or how businesses can get involved, contact Assistant Professor April Kemp at or (985) 549-2277, or visit

slu_northwestern_mutualcrImage: Celebrating at the ribbon cutting ceremony are, from left, Southeastern President John L. Crain, Jordyn Eaton, Katy Dugal, Ryan Rhoto, Jason Navarre, Steven Dugal, Paul Hodge, Dicky Lyons (all with Northwestern Mutual), Sales Program Coordinators Assistant Professor April Kemp and Associate Professor Tará Lopez, Miss Southeastern Lily Gayle, Vice President for University Advancement Wendy Lauderdale, and Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller.

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