This is the last in a series of three blog posts from each of the CommonBond borrowers joining us on our trip to Ghana with Pencils of Promise. We asked each of them to write about why they are excited about the trip and what they are looking forward to.
Duke University—Fuqua School of Business, Class of 2012
What He's Bringing on the Plane
Between the World And Me (book), blanket, and melatonin (for sleeping), plus a fresh composition notebook (to capture inspiration, ideas & memories)
"I'm getting an MBA to become a Venture Philanthropist," noted my business school applications. However, school debt and the allure of a comfortable life convinced me to take a corporate job. While I work for a mission-driven organization now, it is far from my initial goals of aligning my work and passion for underserved populations. I believe that breaking bread with community members and exchanging stories with students will re-ignite the spark I once had to do much more.
One way I've done more was through volunteering with Upwardly Global, an organization that works with unemployed/underemployed immigrants to find work commensurate with their experience and expertise. While preparing these individuals for interviews, I witnessed the often-overlooked brilliance bubbling in the developing world. More inspiring, however, were the barriers my clients overcame to attain an education. On a basic level, I could relate.
As a kid from the Bronx, my path to higher education wasn't always clear, but I was fortunate to participate in programs like Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), which helped underrepresented students understand the path to being admitted to top schools and working at Fortune 50 companies. I've been blessed with what these children need, a chance. I want to share what I've learned on my path with these budding scholars and also share this experience with the 4,000 pre/post-MBA students in MLT.
Finally, I must admit that the prospect of visiting Ghana holds special promise to me. As a primary source of enslaved Africans brought to the U.S., Ghana represents the Motherland I never knew as an African American. I would relish the opportunity to walk the grounds of my ancestors. I applaud CommonBond and Pencils of Promise for their willingness to offer this program.