I grew up on a farm in Kentucky and have always loved learning about how things work. The first time I attended Vanderbilt University, I obtained a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering, with minors in Engineering Management and Studio Art. I applied that knowledge as a design engineer with an architectural engineering firm in San Francisco, CA, and most recently as a manufacturing engineer with Lockheed Martin outside of Lexington, KY. The differences in those two experiences created a deep curiosity about why the two regions in which I had worked looked so different. Why did capital go to San Francisco instead of Columbus, OH or Charlotte, NC? How could the Bay Area be so wealthy, but also host a humanitarian crisis over housing? What were the real and root reasons behind major corporations abandoning states like Kentucky, especially in rural areas, and why hadn’t anything replaced them? These questions led me back to Vanderbilt and to the Owen Graduate School of Management where I am pursuing an MBA and aim to understand the decisions businesses make regarding their clients, bottom-line, innovation, and future, as well as the role of business in identifying and solving social problems.
Over my last year at Vanderbilt and through my experiences with the Turner Family Center, I have learned more about social impact, enterprise, and ventures than I learned in the preceding 25 years. I jumped right in when school started and involved myself with the TFC in multiple ways – committee member, Emerging Impact Leaders Fellow, Board Fellow, and Board Member of Net Impact. The TFC has given me the opportunity for hands-on application of what I have learned in school, while being an avenue to learn skills that aren’t gained in the classroom – how to motivate people, how to lead without power, how to catalyze change, how to effectively delegate. Additionally, I’ve been able to explore the spectrum of social impact careers and see the diversity of the space and its participants.
I’m grateful and excited to take on the role of Executive Board Chair and to think strategically about the future of the TFC and our impact on our local and broader communities.