We’ve enjoyed the opportunity to honor the history and legacy of Black and African American members of our community who have and continue to lay the foundation for the next generation of innovative, successful, and transformational leaders making a difference in the world. Throughout the month of February we leveraged our social media platforms to celebrate just some of the incredible accomplishments and achievements of our students and alumni.

Student and Alumni Spotlights

Melcolm Ruffin (MBA 2020)

Head of Athlete Content Strategy at CAA Sports | Co-founder of SEEN | Forbes 30 Under 30

Melcolm Ruffin (MBA 2020) is among one of four HBS alumni named to this year's Forbes 30 Under 30 List. Melcolm is co-founder of the nonprofit Sports & Entertainment Equity Network (SEEN), which aims to "close the diversity, equity, and inclusion gap in the business of sports & entertainment," and is the current head of athlete content strategy at CAA Sports.

Learn more about Melcolm's story here and here.

Camille McGirt, MPH (MBA 2021)

Founder of Healthy Girls Save the World, Inc. | 2020 HKS Cheng Fellow

Inspired by her experience volunteering with Michelle Obama's Let's Move Campaign during her time as a White House intern (Fall 2010), Camille and her sister Rachel founded Healthy Girls Save The World (HGSW) on August 8th, 2011. HGSW seeks to provide "transformational experiences and education on proper nutrition, the benefits of physical activity, and overall healthy lifestyles," specifically to girls of color, empowering them to develop "healthy and balanced lifestyles."

Read more about Camille's work with HGSW.

Shekeyla Caldwell Sandore (MBA 2021)

Author of A Name Like Mine: A Rhyming Story About Diversity and Inclusion

Inspired by her own issues with having her name honored and pronounced correctly as a child, Shekeyla wrote "A Name Like Mine: A Rhyming Story About Diversity & Inclusion," in order to "help young children with unique names feel more confident," and also as a way to help teach professors, teachers, and other adults about the positive impact they can have by making an effort to honor their student's unique names.

Learn more about the book on their Instagram account: @anamelikemine

Henri Pierre-Jacques (MBA 2019) & Jarrid Tingle (MBA 2019)

Managing Partners at Harlem Capital

For Henri and Jarrid, venture capital is about more than just making money; they want to "impact a culture by investing in innovative companies led by women and diverse entrepreneurs."

Read more about their journey to becoming Managing Partners at Harlem Capital, and how they're revolutionizing the entrepreneurial space.

Tyler Simpson (MBA 2019) & Kim Foster (MBA 2019)

Co-founders of the Black Tech Master Series & New Venture Competition

Inspired by the need to diversify entrepreneurial spaces and the lack of access to resources and funding for black entrepreneurs, Kim and Tyler co-founded the Black Tech Master Series & New Venture Competition during their time at HBS as a way to help "level the playing field."

Read more about their work and both events.

Legacy Building and HBS

During the month of February, we appreciated the opportunity to highlight HBS students and alumni, who have and are carving out their own places in history – by leveraging their time at HBS to cultivate, innovate, and establish their own legacies.

On February 17th, we hosted a panel discussion with current EC and AASU Co-President Alexis Jackson (MBA 2021), and alums Brandon Lovell (MBA, 2020) and Mikal Lewis (MBA, 2020) focused on Legacy Building and HBS. This session was an opportunity to elevate and acknowledge the weight and the pride that many Black students experience as the first in their families and communities to pursue an MBA at Harvard Business School. This action alone, for many will be a pivotal point in the trajectory and story of their lives – and yet it can be hard in the moment to see the big picture. To see that the small decisions we make every day are in fact the stepping stones and the dots that connect to shape and frame how we’ll be remembered.

The panelists for this session all viewed their legacies as being intrinsically tied to their ability to impact the lives of others, and elevated the importance of betting on yourself. Brandon Lovell said it best when he challenged future HBS students to “own their seat” – as a nod to the reminder we all need to hear sometimes: you are worthy, you are capable, you are more than enough. We hope prospective students are inspired by Alexis, Brandon and Mikal’s stories and that as they live their lives with their legacy in mind – they’ll consider the role HBS and the MBA can play in building their legacy.

A Vision for the Future

Being a club president comes with challenges, but for those who took the helm in 2020, there were additional, unforeseen adversities that surfaced. Learn more about this experience and the resilience of AASU Co-Presidents Bukie Adebo (MBA 2021) and Alexis Jackson (MBA 2021)

48th Annual H. Naylor Fitzhugh Conference

Black women elevate the world, and the AASU community didn’t miss the opportunity to elevate the voices of Black women and Black leaders in tech and entrepreneurship at the 48th Annual H. Naylor Fitzhugh Conference Weekend, hosted February 26-28, 2021. Keynote speakers included Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning Creator of the 1619 Project, and Jessie Woolley-Wilson (MBA 1990), President & CEO of DreamBox Learning. The conference weekend also featured the 2nd Annual Black New Venture Pitch Competition and 2nd Annual Black Tech Master's Series. Read more about the conference weekend here.