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President of the Board/Director of Business Development & Strategic Partnerships
The SHE Society Inc. dba SHE Chicago
Program/Concentration: Jack Welch MBA with Human Resources Concentration
TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOB RESPONSIBILITIES AT THE SHE SOCIETY INC. DBA SHE CHICAGO.
SHE Chicago’s mission is to use character education, community service, and college and career training to transform inner-city teen girls into powerful community leaders of tomorrow. I oversee the board of directors and work closely with the Executive Director on strategic planning, organizational effectiveness, and large-scale fundraising. I am responsible for developing partnerships with government grantors, HNWI, and corporate donors. My goal is to create financial stability for the organization and approve present advocacy opportunities that provide resources to our members. Overall, I serve the purpose of our girls through my leadership skills and corporate expertise.
WHY WERE YOU LOOKING TO GET AN MBA?:
I wanted to earn an MBA because I am a business savant. Every business major should strive for an MBA or an MS within their industry of business leadership. An MBA is the polish and further advancement of a bachelor’s level education. Furthering my education keeps me sharp and relevant. I am a lifelong learner currently pursuing a doctoral degree in business. The study of business is my passion. I enjoy using new learning tools and acquired skills to help advance any organization.
HOW HAS THE JWMI CURRICULUM HELPED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
With the application of Jack Welch’s system of management, SHE Chicago has grown rapidly within its first three years. We could retain our most effective board members and staff by applying the 20/70/10 rule of differentiation and its relevance to non-profit businesses. Using talent mastery, we decided on a different approach to membership drives using research that defined our target demographics and investing in staff training and development. Using Jack’s approach to financial management, we mitigated risks when investing in capital expenditures that could benefit the organization long-term and gauge other investment opportunities.
DID YOU FIND THE CURRICULUM WAS IMMEDIATELY APPLICABLE? PLEASE EXPLAIN.:
The curriculum helped me to hone the skills needed in every decision-making process that affects the organization. Understanding talent mastery and strategic planning from JWMI’s perspective enabled me to advise the Executive Director more effectively in her talent and member search. Additionally, examining our financial statements became more critical as the organization grew; we were able to discern better financial practices by ensuring the budget was balanced and spending was minimal. I cannot leave out operations management because we apply lean concepts to event management, vendor relationships, and fundraising campaigns.
LOOKING BACK AT WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT AN ONLINE PROGRAM WHEN YOU FIRST EMBARKED, WHAT WAS YOUR OVERALL IMPRESSION NOW?
I was familiar with online learning before the program. However, I wanted to learn the Jack Welch concept of management and its application at the MBA level. I am an advocate for online programs. I work and haven’t had time for brick-and-mortar learning since as far back as I can remember. In fact, as an undergrad student, I took an online chemistry class and set up a lab at home. The flexibility of online learning is applicable no matter the subject matter or industry. Online programs can be more technical but are not complicated. It’s convenient and time-saving and allows you to achieve all your goals, both professionally, educationally, and personally.
HOW DID YOU NAVIGATE JOB, FAMILY, AND WORK? WHAT STRATEGIES DID YOU IMPLEMENT TO GET IT DONE?:
Time management was vital. Block out the time, stick to the plan, and get it done. Stay in constant communication and never fall behind. Stay on top of discussion questions (DQs) and assignments as you stay on top of family relationships and work. Love everything you do and be passionate about each journey: family, work, and school.
WAS THERE A PARTICULAR PROFESSOR OR MEMBER OF THE STAFF WHO YOU FELT HELPED YOU TO EXCEL? PLEASE ELABORATE.:
Jack and Suzy Welch are my business soul’s inspirations. I transferred out of a different MBA program to attend JWMI. Their reputation precedes them, and I was all in when I discovered they helped build an MBA program through a well-known university.
As for professors and staff, Dean Sippel is a leader and advocate of the best MBA program in the world. Dr. Bruce Smith and his team made the Capstone course one of the most incredible experiences. Dr. Thomas Cairns‘ approach to applying Jack’s 20-70-10 rule and other theories to access talent and promote organizational success was a hit. Dr. Leo Giglio provided an in-depth analysis of strategy and how it applies to any organization. Dr. Rick Wallace helped me connect with the C-suite in a way I never envisioned; he made it easy to understand organizational change and look at talent versus superficial metrics. Finally, I must also mention Richard Chua for his lean six training, Barbara Bruno for her HR mastery, and the Stice Brothers (Richard and Earl) for their accountancy wizardry. They are the best LinkedIn Learning teachers I’ve encountered—I still apply their teachings.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE IN THE PROGRAM?:
I was able to apply everything I learned in real-time using projects applicable to the business. I became a better leader and servant to my organization. JWMI was a holistic business learning experience. From the founders to the professional staff, to the professors, to the Experts of Practice—the JWMI experience is the complete package.
PLEASE SHARE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW STUDENTS EMBARKING ON THE MBA JOURNEY.:
As I shared with Professor Bruce Smith, I would say, open your mind and get ready for the leadership training of a lifetime. JWMI is not here to take away what you already know. It is here to enhance and expound who you are in life and business. JWMI is a program designed to help you find success and make you even more extraordinary.
Connect with Gwendolyn Washington on Linkedin
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