Diane Toroian Keaggy originally wrote this for The Source.
Commencement student speakers Bryanna Brown, MBA ’22, will take the the stage Friday at Francis Olympic Field to address members of the Class of 2022.
“I saw firsthand how the inequities in resource allocation impacted my students,” said Brown, who taught fifth-grade math in her hometown of Atlanta at KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools. “To make a difference, you need leaders who can innovate and make strategic business decisions that put children and their education first.”
At Washington University, Brown traveled with her classmates to Washington D.C., Paris and Barcelona as part of Olin’s innovative Global Immersion Program and gained expertise in consulting, finance and management.
Brown also worked to support minority students as a Consortium Fellow. A Washington University professor, Sterling Schoen, founded the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management in 1966 to equip Black, Hispanic and Native American business students with the skills they need to secure positions in American corporations. Today, 21 of the nation’s top MBA programs are consortium members.
‘I’m proud to be part of this community’
“I’m proud to be a part of this community that strives to make sure that minorities in business have avenues to succeed,” said Brown who, as chapter co-president, helped new fellows prepare for the internship search; hosted community dinners; and sponsored programming for all Olin students. “I’m a career-changer who did not have a business background, and being a Consortium Fellow gave me a sense of camaraderie right from the beginning.”
Brown also has served as a graduate student representative for the Board of Trustees, where she championed student stipends, child care, housing and mental health resources for graduate students. She also has advocated for events and programs that bring graduate students together.
“As graduate students, we tend to stick in our silos, but it’s important to collaborate with students across disciplines. And that starts with meeting,” Brown said. “I think the Board of Trustees is making a concerted effort to understand the graduate student perspective and to better serve these students and support their remarkable work.”
Brown will recognize that work during her remarks to the Class of 2022.
“We’ve persevered through COVID and incredibly chaotic circumstances,” Brown said. “As much as we’ve done, there is still so much to do and so much to give back. This is just the beginning.”
After graduation, Brown will move to Minneapolis, where she will work at 3M as a strategist in its renowned Strategy and Marketing Development program. Ultimately, she hopes to return to education.
“I am excited to get more of the training that I started at Olin,” Brown said. “But I’ll never be far from education. It’s really important to me that every child has the chance for an equitable education.”