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Meet Our 2019 Cohort of Fellows: Ashani Peterkin

University of Rochester, Simon School of Business

I was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica but grew up in Cape Cod Massachusetts where I learned the value of building and maintain relationships on the community level. I went to Brandeis University where I studied Health Policy and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies. I relocated to Copenhagen Denmark halfway through my undergraduate career to work as a Research Assistant studying the efficacy of breast cancer screening methods. I returned home to finish my degree which allowed me to transition to the nonprofit sector doing financial management. I recently transitioned from Las Vegas, where I was promoted into a Project Management oriented role at the CDC in the Vector Diseases Surveillance Program. Working at a federal agency provided access to emerging technology which influenced me to pursue a career in the development and marketing of technology. I am attending Simon Business School to transition from public health to the technology side of the industry but also to gain financial acumen and leadership development. I am currently pursuing internship opportunities that provide a more hands-on experience in marketing for the summer of 2020.

What made you consider business school?

I believe the greatest impact I have made has been through demonstrating leadership that seeks to included perspectives and experiences of the people I serve through a healthcare paradigm. I decided to pursue an MBA to understand the intersections of health, business, and community as well as the different industries and functions. I want to pursue my MBA to the shift from the public health/policy space to the bio-pharmaceutical and medical devices marketing space. Furthermore, an MBA will allow some flexibility to explore my strengths and weaknesses with a group of intensely driven future leaders.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?

Luckily, I have started classes at Simon, and I am developing the leadership skills I knew the program would provide through our many team projects. I am learning different ways of thinking due to my colleagues' experiences from a broad range of industries and functions that make class discussions compelling. I am looking forward to our many vision consulting clubs such as net impact where we will solve business problems facing some local non-profit organizations. Furthermore, I am excited about the many experiential learning classes available at Simon that will allow us to apply frameworks from classes to real-world issues. Lastly, I am eager to attend conferences and networking opportunities with other MBA programs to further build and sustain a community of my peers.

Who are some leaders (in the LGBT community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?

James Baldwin has been an inspiration of mine since my late teens for his exploration of sexuality, trauma and race throughout the civil rights movement. He was a revolutionary for using literature as from of social commentary to center the psychological and political challenges thwarting integration of African Americans.

What's one thing everyone should know about you?

I value honesty, integrity, and kindness. Besides that, I am a huge fan of queer independent films.