University of Southern Indiana

Tailfeather: Jeanette Maier-Lytle

Jeanette Maier-Lytle holding bags of items for the homeless

In high school, Jeanette Maier-Lytle ’88 M’95 realized she had a talent for accounting after winning second place at a regional accounting competition, going on to place third at the state level and finishing eighth at the national level. During her 22 years at USI, the instructor in accounting has led 40-plus teams to win multiple accounting and international business competitions in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands.

Before joining the USI Romain College of Business faculty, she spent nine years as an accountant and consultant. During her teaching career, she has witnessed notable changes in student anxiety and depression, a concern that led her to create Hug Alliance in 2016. The non-profit focuses on “healing through giving,” and provides free support and life coaching to individuals and the community.


What is your secret to creating so many winning accounting competition teams? 

You must be willing to commit the time and effort to building a successful team, which involves countless hours of preparation and practice.

Describe your teaching style and its impact on students. 

I prefer an interactive style of learning, where I prompt students with questions. However, each classroom has its own personality, so I do my best to adapt to the various student-learning styles throughout the semester. I communicate to students that I am available outside the classroom if they need more time to learn a challenging problem or concept, and they know they can count on me to discuss their personal issues as well. The students are my highest priority at the University and why I go to work each day.


‘Healing through giving’ is the motto of your nonprofit organization. What does that mean to you? 

I have experienced many bouts with depression and stress during my lifetime, and found the fastest way out of those dark valleys was through giving. When I sacrifice my time and money toward a greater cause, my problems are no longer the focus and the healing process begins. 

What services does Hug Alliance provide? 

Hug Alliance offers free life coaching, as well as journals and self-help books for its clients. Hug also engages in community outreach activities and has filled and distributed more than 100 blessing bags to the homeless. The bags contain food, drink and hygiene items. Hug also donated 2x4s to Habitat for Humanity. Planned activities for 2019 include assisting other food donation programs, volunteering at the Humane Society and continuing our blessing bag program.

What book should everyone read and why? 

The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D. It provides brilliant insight for healthy, emotional growth through a detailed discussion of how one can confront their problems, suffer through necessary changes and develop healthy, loving relationships.

What would you like to do when you retire from teaching? 

I would like to write and publish a book on spiritual and emotional growth, based on my personal experiences.


What one word describes you?


What is one life lesson you would like to pass along to readers? 

No matter what life you are born into or obstacles you must face, you can overcome the odds through hard work, commitment and persistence. For me, faith in God is the secret to sustenance.



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