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Whitney Roman

Roman returns home as director of CSSE

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Media Contact: Jeff Hopper | Communications Coordinator | 405-744-1050 |

Over 15 years after she last stepped foot on campus as a student, Whitney Roman has returned to OSU as the new director of the Center for Sales and Service Excellence (CSSE) excited to give back to a place that has played a pivotal role in her life.

Roman graduated from the School of Media and Strategic Communications, then the Paul Miller School of Journalism and Broadcasting, with a degree in public relations in 2005. She anticipated working in a public relations associated role, but after taking an interview for a sales position, her journey took an unexpected turn.

“I never guessed I would work in sales,” Roman said. “Like a lot of our students, I kind of landed in that role, but found that a lot of my skills from public relations translated to sales. So I just ran with it.”

Roman prospered in the world of pharmaceutical sales and steadily progressed into leadership positions and larger sales territories in the Kansas City area. Over 13 years, she had developed a strong foundation in sales and was poised to continue down that path. However, much like before, another unexpected turn was waiting for her.

After starting a family, the fast-paced, hectic-scheduled life of a sales professional wasn’t aligning with her desire to spend time with a young, growing family. Roman made the tough decision to step back from sales and search for another career path. As a bridge to that next career, Roman took a position as an adjunct marketing professor with Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City and she instantly enjoyed the daily interactions with students and the ability to share her knowledge with the next group of marketing professionals.

“The thought of being a teacher never entered my mind growing through my career,” Roman said. “However, the ability to give back and invest time and energy into helping students find their way in the marketing world was something I fell in love with.”

Roman spent the next few years teaching and eventually took a position as the lead faculty member in marketing for Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas, where she might still be if not for a perfect opportunity at her alma mater.

In spring 2023, the director of CSSE position opened in the Spears School of Business, and Roman immediately knew that she was going to do everything in her power to get the position at an institution that her family already had fervent connections to.

“It was kind of the unicorn of jobs for me, marrying my sales experience with the ability to teach students,” Roman said. “Not only that, but OSU is home for my family. There was definitely some added pressure, but I knew I wanted to give back to the university that gave so much to me.”

Last May, Roman was named the new director of CSSE and brought with her a passion and desire to make an immediate impact on Spears and its students. She believes that CSSE’s goal of developing students by teaching valuable sales, leadership and customer retention skills will undoubtedly help them succeed in their professional careers.

The CSSE program is open to all students across campus, not just students in Spears. Roman makes that abundantly clear when speaking with students, as she provides examples of sales being involved in every aspect of creating the building students are standing in. Whether it be the paint, concrete, furniture, etc., nearly every facet of life has some sales connected to it.

“I want the students to know that CSSE is not just a certificate program,” Roman said. “It’s an experience that prepares them to graduate and hit the ground running as sales professionals in any industry they choose.”

The program currently sits at over 150 members and is continuing to grow at a rapid pace and it’s easy to see why. From competing in sales competitions with students from across the U.S. to interviewing and speaking with successful sales professionals at monthly meetings, students are given the opportunity to network and create relationships with industry professionals and fully investigate what sales and service can offer them in their future careers. 

As the future of the program comes into focus for Roman as she settles into her new role, she has one goal that continues to guide her, “I want CSSE to be well known amongst industry leaders. I want CSSE to have a stellar reputation and for employers to know that if they hire a member of CSSE, they are getting a top-quality, fully prepared individual ready to make immediate impacts for their employers.”

While the journey that led her to back to OSU took a few unexpected turns, Roman ardently believes that CSSE has the ability to be one of the top sales certificate programs in the country, and she is excited to give back to OSU and its students.

“Coming from a small town, OSU provided me the opportunity for immense personal growth,” Roman said. “It gave me the opportunity to realize what I could do in life and how high I could reach. I credit my time at OSU for so much in life. I feel like it changed me. The opportunity to come back and invest back into that place and the Cowboy family, is priceless.”

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