Partnerships director at a global nonprofit design studio
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I am a partnerships director at IDEO.org, a global nonprofit design studio. Most of my professional experience has been in strategy consulting and development. I design and lead the implementation of new, sustainable business models and partnerships to drive solutions for underserved populations, including women, youth, and smallholder farmers. I have a B.A in Engineering Sciences and a B.E in Biomedical Engineering from Dartmouth College.
What drew you to the GBA program? Given my background and interest in sustainable development, I was excited to see that the GBA program would provide a platform to understand relevant underlying principles that can drive social impact and sustainability. I was keen to understand the fundamentals of finance and strategy, as well as global legal, political, and monetary systems, and how they affect emerging markets.
Also, the fact that there is no GRE/GMAT requirement for admission drew me to the program. I find this to be forward thinking in the ongoing debate over the effectiveness and relevance of standardized testing in determining one’s success in grad school.
Which course has been your favorite thus far and why? Definitely Corporate Finance! It was a tough course to maneuver, but Professor Schena was fantastic at linking seemingly abstract concepts to current affairs, thus making it very relevant and applicable. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic hit just about when we were about to do our final valuation project, so we pivoted and did a valuation of Zoom. It was very interesting seeing how our valuations stacked up against the market. The real-life application of concepts helped build my understanding and confidence in the subject matter.
What is your advice on how to foster relationships in an online program? The GBA program attracts such an interesting cohort of people who have rich professional and personal experiences. I would say do not hesitate to ping someone on Zoom chat or e-mail to connect. Everyone is really open to having deeper conversations, and there is a lot you can learn from Zoom social hours—although sometimes it means waking up at 4 a.m. given the difference in time zones!
Do you have a quote that has been helpful along your professional journey? “Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” Lately I’ve been contemplating how much of Africa’s history is left out in “world” history or narratives about “global” politics and how this impacts the perception of Africa around the world. It is shaping how I think about the next phase of my professional and personal journey, and how I can play a role, albeit small, in Africans having a voice in the global discourse on Africa.
You must start each day (for the rest of your life!) listening to the same song. Which song do you choose and why? Alicia Keys’s “This Girl Is on Fire” or Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.” I cheated and picked two! Both songs are like having your own cheerleading team. How can you not win the day?