I began my career in finance and banking before finally listening to the voice in my head imploring me to look for something more. As I was finishing a two year stint in Peace Corps Ghana I knew that a graduate degree was the next step in my career transition. One of the difficulties I faced was deciding which type of degree to seek and where. I discovered that USF was inaugurating a MAIS program and, fortunately for me, I was accepted into the first cohort.
Were it not for the individual, close relationships that MAIS faculty fostered with each of us students I’m not sure where I would be right now. As it happened, one professor introduced me to a USF graduate who founded a small investment firm that at the time was working on a unique agriculture investment in Ghana. It was a perfect fit and my internship with Golden Mean Capital Partners (GMCP) began almost immediately. The MAIS coursework helped me bring a different perspective to a GMCP team that was made up exclusively of finance professionals. In turn, the work we undertook in Ghana informed and shaped my graduate thesis: Integrating Venture & Philanthropic Capital in sub-Saharan Africa’s Agriculture Sector.
My MAIS internship, which became a full-time job after graduation, has taken me back to Ghana several times as well as Zambia, Mozambique, Mauritius and South Africa. For the past two and a half years I have been working with the Sustainable Cotton Cluster in South Africa to help provide unique financial solutions for revitalizing the country’s cotton sector. I also helped to found and grow the African Diaspora Network, a non-profit dedicated to furthering economic and social development across the continent.
I think it says a lot about USF that both of the ventures I am involved in – each focused on inclusive growth and positive social impact – were founded by and include multiple team members that are graduates. I believe there is a shared sense that together we can do more. And it all began at USF.