Faces of Carlson
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Among our greatest achievements at the Carlson School are the connections we have made to each other and to the school. Our Faces of Carlson series showcases the perspectives of our inimitable students, faculty, staff, and alumni, highlighting what inspires them and makes them proud of their work and communities.
Shaker Zahra Professor
Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship Department
"I’m most proud of the fact that I have gotten to know so many people from so many cultures, from so many places around the globe, and my life has become better and richer because of these connections. It’s something I never dreamed would happen to me, and probably is the highlight of everything in my life. It defined what I did and how I did things and I cannot tell you how important that has been."
Chair and CEO at Guaranteed America, Inc.
“A vision of what a better world can look like inspires me. We always talk about gaps for people of color, African Americans, and I always say, ‘Well, what does that world look like when—African Americans especially— we define what success is and we decide our destiny?’ When we get to that place, you’ll see a very different world with a lot more resources for everybody. Because when you do remove those gaps and you allow people to express themselves, generally, in this country, you unlock a ton of opportunity. And if you want to measure it in terms of economics, you unlock a ton of revenue, GDP, all those things that matter. But more importantly, you just unlock a ton of potential across the arts, across business, across politics. So that’s what motivates me, is a vision of the world where people can follow their own destiny and vision.”
“The community of Compass at Carlson has been really meaningful to me in my own personal journey. My process towards my identity in the LGBTQ community wasn’t really as clear or clear-cut as I thought it was supposed to be. I walk through the world holding a lot of privilege. I’m a cis, white, straight-passing woman. And I feel like, in many ways, I haven’t felt like I was gay enough and that my relatively peaceful coming-out experiences and my very accepting family and friends make me feel a little bit less qualified to participate in LGBTQ spaces and discussions. I realized through my engagements with Compass and more broadly with the community that it’s created, that my voice matters and that walking forward with my lesbianism as openly expressed as my privilege provides me the best platform to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts across the business community.”
MBA and MS Programs
“Right now in my life I’m most proud of the volunteer work I’m doing with Greyhound Pets of America Minnesota. GPA MN is a local chapter of a national nonprofit that finds permanent forever homes for racing greyhounds when they retire from their careers on the track. I’ve been volunteering with them since I adopted my first retired racer nearly 10 years ago, and I’m currently starting my second two-year term as president of the board. It’s just so gratifying to introduce the public to these gentle, loving, 45-MPH couch potatoes, and see the dogs settle into their retirement homes and to life as a beloved pet.”
“My biggest source of inspiration and also my biggest source of gratitude during this time has come from many of the folks in our society who are continuing to go to work each day so that we can have the goods and services we need to survive and get through this time together, and that’s everyone from our healthcare workers to those in our food and agriculture sector. Obviously, these essential services don’t always provide them with the choice of being able to stay home and stay protected like the rest of us, but, I am just so thankful for all of them doing that on a daily basis so that we can emerge stronger, collectively, and have what we need to get through this together.”
This article appeared in the Fall 2020 alumni magazine
The year 2020 has brought forth unprecedented change. In this issue of our alumni magazine, we explore these changes and the Carlson School’s role in it.