As a part of the #UCFBusiness Dean’s Leadership Class, 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Therese Gearhart, ’85, spoke to students about her life and career. Among the highlights of her talk was he experiences with The Coca-Cola Company. Gearhart was one of three distinguished UCF College of Business Administration (#UCFBusiness) alumni to be inducted into the Business Hall of Fame on February 26th, 2015 at Rosen Shingle Creek.

Gearhart is the president of Coca-Cola’s Southern Africa Business Unit. The Southern Africa Business Unit encompasses South Africa, Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho and Malawi.

In her speech, Gearhart encouraged students to live and work in an environment that allows them to grow both personally and professionally. She credits her success to being open to new possibilities. “I’d been willing to take any opportunity that came my way,” Gearhart remarked. Referencing her early successes, she said, “I have a massive ‘no regrets’ policy.”

Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Gearhart held various positions in general management and marketing at Motorola Corporation and Black and Decker Corporation.  Therese has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Central Florida and her master’s degree from the American Graduate School of International Management in Arizona.

The Dean’s Leadership Class is an opportunity for students to learn from successful business professionals and UCF alumni from around the world. Students learn from the experiences of these professionals and have the chance to network with leaders such as Jennifer Kearney, ’07 (market sales leader, Target), Terry McNew, ’86 (president/CEO, MasterCraft Boat Company), Laurette McPartland Koellner, ’77 (former president, Boeing International), the Honorable Kenneth W. Bradley, ’85 (mayor, City of Winter Park; CEO, Winter Park Memorial Hospital), and Tony Jenkins (market president, Florida Blue).

About the College of Business Administration:

Established in 1968, the UCF College of Business Administration offers degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and executive levels. All programs, as well as the Kenneth G. Dixon School of Accounting are accredited by AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

The college provides high-quality academic programs designed to give students a competitive advantage in the world of business now and in the future. As such, the college establishes partnerships with some of the nation’s most innovative leaders to model new and best practices that harness evolving technology. In addition, the college promotes a unique culture of engagement, risk-taking, cross-disciplinary collaboration and data-driven decision making in an effort to ensure students are well prepared to enter a dynamic marketplace.

America’s Partnership University:
The University of Central Florida, the nation’s second-largest university with nearly 60,000 students, has grown in size, quality, diversity and reputation in its first 50 years. Today, the university offers more than 200 degree programs at its main campus in Orlando and more than a dozen other locations. UCF is an economic engine attracting and supporting industries vital to the region’s future while providing students with real-world experiences that help them succeed after graduation. For more information, visit