Goizueta Gives’ Partnership with 21st Century Leaders Continues Despite Ongoing Pandemic

In 2018 when I happened to visit Goizueta during the school’s annual Inside Goizueta Diversity Conference, I met Karina de Sousa 19MBA, a Social Enterprise fellow. She spoke very highly of the organization. Since then, I knew that if accepted to Goizueta, I wanted to get involved in one or more of the clubs that sat under SE@G.

Fast forward to my Core semester in the fall of 2019, I met Sam Oldroyd 20MBA, the then-vice president of Goizueta Gives, a community service–oriented club whose mission is to have a positive impact on the greater Georgia community by connecting students to Georgia nonprofits and leveraging the strengths and resources of the Goizueta community to the advancement of these nonprofit partners. He excitedly told me about the club and their plans for the year. Being that I have a passion for serving and held leadership roles in the community service group at my last employer, I was immediately captivated. I joined the club and when Sanjana Chhantyal 20MBA, the then-president, announced that applications were open for two first-year representatives, I applied. Anisha Shrestha 21MBA and I were elected first-year representatives.

One of our first responsibilities was to find volunteers for Goizueta Gives’ annual case competition with 21st Century Leaders (21CL), a nonprofit focused on “providing young leaders with the training, guidance, and encouragement necessary to enter college and the workforce.” We connected with a few of our classmates who agreed to relinquish six hours of their time on a Saturday to act as coaches and judges for over 50 Georgia high school students.

Fireside chat with Arjun Chowdri, chief innovation officer of PGA of America, and moderator Erin Lightfoot, secretary of 21CL Junior Board of Directors.

Fireside chat with Arjun Chowdri, chief innovation officer of PGA of America, and moderator Erin Lightfoot, secretary of 21CL Junior Board of Directors.

To kick off the annual Goizueta Youth Leadership SummitErin Lightfoot 21MBA, a junior board member of 21CL, moderated a fireside chat with Arjun Chowdri, chief innovation officer of PGA of America, as high school students and Goizueta student-judges while coaches looked on. It was a rewarding event, and the feedback Goizueta Gives received was overwhelmingly positive. The students said that they felt supported by their coaches and judges and were able to refine their critical-thinking skills. On the administrative side, 21CL thought the event was well-organized and the internal communication was excellent. I found the planning of and my participation in the summit quite fulfilling.

So, when my tenure as president began last fall and the opportunity to work with 21CL presented itself, I was enthusiastic despite the challenges of the pandemic. The program managers at 21CL were also excited about continuing with our years-long partnership and thus, the planning process for the 2021 Youth Leaders (Virtual) Summit began with Anisha, as well as Goizueta Gives’ first-year representatives, Kegan Baird 22MBA and Josh Mckelvey 22MBA by my side. Last spring, the industry of focus was the sports and recreation industry, and the Atlanta Braves sponsored the event for 21CL.

This year, the industry of focus is the supply chain industry, and the event will feature a speaker from HD Supply. The event will be held February 27 this year, and though it will be virtual, I am excited and confident that the first-year Goizueta coach and judge volunteers will exhibit our core values of rigor, accountability, diversity, and teamwork to ensure an invaluable experience for the 21CL high school students.

Racquel Waite

Racquel Waite

Racquel Waite, originally from Jamaica, came to America 10 years ago to attend Colgate University in upstate New York. Racquel was an M&A equity analyst in New York City before attending Goizueta Business School. She interned at Liberty Mutual in the summer of 2020 and is going into her second year at Goizueta.