As Lead Human Resources Faculty in the College for Professional Studies for a year-and-a-half, Dr. Tony Vrba’s primary responsibilities include teaching, curriculum oversight and development, scheduling, and advising for both undergraduate and graduate human resources learners and courses.
She also serves as Advisor for the Regis Student Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “My Regis colleagues are my family,” she adds, when discussing what she likes best about working here.
One of nine children who grew up in Central Wisconsin, Dr. Tony Vrba likes to say that she joined the U.S. Navy because her mother “broke my plate.” She loved the Navy because it offered great career opportunities, and Tony spent most of her time in recruiting and human resources positions.
During her 26 years of service, she was stationed in Denver twice, in Indianapolis, San Francisco, and Dallas. She ultimately earned the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer, the highest enlisted rank in the Navy.
In terms of leadership, she believes that leaders and managers have to deal with problems their workers face. This was put to the test when Tony found out that one of the women who worked with her had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Both of them ended up completing a three-day walk for breast cancer in Dallas. Says Dr. Vrba, “We made the race a goal for both of us.” Between the two of them, they raised $4,000.00, a relatively easy accomplishment compared to the 20 miles each day they had to walk.
Of their fund-raising efforts, Tony adds, “We took homemade breakfast burritos to work and did car washes.” Vrba believes that because colleagues were involved in their co-worker’s battle with cancer, it made her fight easier. And Tony’s co-worker ultimately won her battle. She has since retired from the Navy, overcome her cancer, and now lives in Indiana. Vrba recounts this experience as one of her most memorable leadership accomplishments.
After retiring from the Navy, Tony embarked on a career in higher education. While working on her Ph.D., she worked part-time as a GED (General Educational Development) instructor at a community college Youth Opportunity Program in Weatherford, Texas. Young people between the ages of 17 and 26 who had not completed high school had been court-ordered to attend. Dr. Vrba notes, “This was my most rewarding teaching experience because I saw my students achieve their educational goals in spite of some substantial obstacles. All their lives, people had told them how dumb and stupid they were, but these young people proved them wrong.”
Tony has been successful in higher education herself. She has earned a B.A. in history from Columbia College; an M.S. in Management with an emphasis in Human Resources from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas; and a Ph.D. in Organizational Management and Leadership from Capella University.
If anyone asked her for advice, she would counsel that “The number one thing people can do to be more successful is to volunteer.” A strong advocate for volunteerism, Tony has volunteered for a number of organizations, including the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society, and the Blue Belle Parent Club.
Married for 30 years, she has three wonderful adult children and lives in the foothills of Boulder. In her spare time, she loves to travel and take her dogs on hikes.
A proven leader, Dr. Tony Vrba has built a wonderful life for herself and her family. She thinks that God puts us through hard situations to make us stronger people. And Dr. Vrba’s strength, experience, compassion, and resolve serve the Regis community well.