Celebrating Black Excellence at the USD School of Business

Tuesday, February 16, 2021TOPICS: AlumniInnovation and EntrepreneurshipSpotlights

In celebration of Black History Month, the University of San Diego School of Business highlights the achievements of our Black students and alumni. We are proud to honor the diversity of our students and their experiences, and the successes of our alumni.

Ed Simon at Master's in Executive Leadership graduation

Edward Simon ‘17 (MSEL)

“I'm currently employed with California American Water as the director of business performance and supplier diversity. My degree from USD provided the additional knowledge and skills needed to start my own business. In June 2020, I co-founded The Diversity Advisors, a social economic impact strategy firm focused on helping small businesses and larger corporations implement diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies that result in systemic changes. My favorite memories at USD are the walks around campus (absolutely beautiful/breathtaking), the faculty (which brought real life experiences) and my cohort, MSEL Cohort 17!”


Carl-Olivier Dumesle, MBA student

Carl-Olivier Dumesle, MBA student

"Born to entrepreneurial parents in Haiti, I had the privilege of modeling my thinking after theirs from a young age. Life changed drastically after Haiti experienced a disastrous earthquake in 2010. After this unfortunate event, my family decided to move to the Dominican Republic where I studied business and strategy. After I was accepted into USD's MBA program, I was excited to start my journey but experienced my first major hurdle before I even set foot on campus; I could not find a place to live. International students such as myself are forced to jump through endless hoops just to find a place in their new host city. It takes many of us several months and multiple application rejections before securing housing due to lack of credit score, cosigner, or social security number. We are also victims of potential scams and security risks. The process of finding housing was very time consuming and created frustrations before I even took my first MBA class. With my startup, HUGS (Housing Undergraduate & Graduate Students), I want to lessen the burden of international students by providing comprehensive student-focused housing solutions. This idea came to me when participating in the inaugural Fowler Business Concept Challenge in 2019. My entrepreneurial spark was ignited! My journey through the USD School of Business' various entrepreneurship-based programs has cemented my desire to create impactful social change through business education. I’ve already started this endeavor by teaching remote classes on business basics in Creole to my compatriots and am volunteering to support a local Haitian microentrepreneur.”


Gary Rogers at Master's in Executive Leadership graduation

Gary S. Rogers II ‘19 (MSEL)

“I joined Rivo Holdings at the same time I started the MSEL program in 2017. Prior to joining the program, I earned a BS/MSOL in Organization Leadership, which provided excellent credentials for interviewing for my current role. My final interview was a week after the first course with Susan & Drea and the impact that had on my leadership point of view was invaluable and helped me to articulate myself in a manner that propelled me to be the company's number one candidate in a field of five. There were many incredible moments throughout my MSEL experience. The initial community experience changed my life forever, it allowed all of Cohort 19 to bond through an unfiltered lens of emotional cleansing and a reaffirmation of who we were as individuals and, unbeknownst to us at that time, how we would become forever embedded in each other's lives.”  


DaJon Wright, business administration major at the USD School of Business

DaJon “DJ” Wright, Business Administration student

“I'm from a small city called Pittsburg in the Eastern Bay Area. It’s filled with many faces that don't look like me, but even more that do. When I first got to USD, things were definitely different from the life I was accustomed to. Coming from a small town you become comfortable with those around you as that's all you've seen your entire life. Your classmates tend to be the same from elementary to your senior year of high school, the neighbor down the street becomes your summer coworker when you turn 16, all the kids you grew up playing Pop Warner football with are now your varsity teammates and so on and so on. So to not only remove yourself from this group of people you've grown with over the years but to move to an area where not too many people look like you can be quite the drastic change. This comes with quite the burden — you become the token black person in your classes, in your friend group, fraternity, etc. However, I can say I'm glad that I forced myself outside of my normal lifestyle. It’s shown me that I'm much more than what I had limited myself to. Branching out has made me appreciate myself for who I am and has inspired me to show those back home that we're more than what our little bubble of a town has expected us to become. In doing so, I've created new relationships and worked closely with my professors and advisors at the USD School of Business to help me pursue my degree and find the best work opportunities for me after my graduation.”  


Quentin Atkins in a military aircraft

Quentin Atkins ‘17 (MSEL) 

“I am presently using my leadership skills by serving in the role of Lead UAS Test Pilot on the Firebird Optionally Piloted Aircraft (Manned or Unmanned) program. I got this position while I was at USD and was able to immediately apply the skills I was in the process of learning in the MSEL program to my work environment. By far, my favorite memory from USD and my program was our leadership building lab exercise where my cohort raced sailing yachts against each other in Valencia, Spain.”


Lucien Eloundou, participant in Torero Ventures Lab

Lucien Eloundou, MA in Leadership Studies and Torero Ventures Lab student

The Torero Ventures Lab was one of the most important classes that I ever took. The experience showed me how to identify an underserved segment in the market helping my startup, Charbon-Plus, fulfill a need for people of color in the skincare industry. Thanks to the class, we got our first 1,000 customers in just a few months. TVL helped me and my team stay laser focused on serving one early adopter segment first and to clearly define our value proposition in less than 10 words: Natural Skincare Made in Africa for Melanin-Rich Skin. I am forever grateful for this amazing opportunity to get connected with top professors and business leaders including Dr. Priya Kannan, Jeff Teza and Alison Gerlach.” 


Renata Ramirez
(619) 260-4658