In this new feature, each month Mendoza will highlight an alumnus/a who is not just doing great things in their career, but is also staying involved with the College of Business. In this first piece, we spoke with Patricia Bravo, member of the MBA class of '00, and learned about her consulting company and her work with Mendoza's Admissions department.
Tell us about your current role:
My current consulting career was formed from my experience leading teams and roles spanning across human resources, organization development and leadership development during my corporate career. Accelerating the development of leaders as a Leadership Development Consultant inspires me to engage with corporate audiences developing programs and facilitating workshops, teach undergrads at the University of Washington, teach emerging and developing leaders at UCLA Extension and connect with a variety of leaders and organizations through my speaking and writing.
My consulting work at Bravo For You, is focused on Empathetic Leadership - helping leaders strengthen how they use empathy as a powerful tool for team member engagement. I recently made my debut publishing research about Empathy as a Vehicle to Authentic Leadership and Followership in Latin America: A Practitioner Perspective.
What made your MBA experience unique?
My ND MBA was unique because it provided a blend of education and community that extends far beyond the classroom walls.
My MBA education filled me with the right mix of skills and knowledge, instrumental as I developed in my career. More recently, I was once again able to rely upon it to give me both the tools and confidence as I transitioned from a corporate career to business ownership. The community also provided an education. The program encouraged me to develop a variety of relationships which started out as friends, classmates and professors. Over time, these have morphed into friends that feel like family, business colleagues with whom to explore partnerships and career mentors, providing value beyond my imagination.
What was your favorite class in the MBA program?
I have to share two, because the notable polarity in my favorite classes demonstrates how the MBA program successfully teaches to your strengths…and otherwise!
Managing Teams, taught by Professor Renee Tynan shifted my lens from individuals to groups and introduced me to the magic and possibilities of what teams can create to solve problems or innovate when they come together in an effective way. Professor Tynan taught far beyond the classroom. She met with each of her students individually and in my case, coached me on how to recognize the parts of my voice I used in public speaking. She quite literally, helped me find my voice. I teach Managing Teams to undergrads today and practice what I learned from her both in and out of the classroom.
In another instance, my classroom experience led me to an unexpected mentor. Professor John Affleck-Graves taught Finance and let’s just say he had his work cut out for him in my case. All these years later, I can still hear him raising his voice in the classroom, “ROE! ROI! You have to know these ratios.” He patiently re-explained concepts during office hours and I was struck by his dedication and empathy which I would recall many years later and connect to my work. Thankfully, my work took me away from ratios for many years but never I forgot - and now that I’m running my own business, am grateful for the foundation and his advice I’ve received over the years.
How have you stayed involved with the MBA program as an alumna?
I carry my ND MBA experience wherever I go, and over the years it’s been easy to plug into the local alumni clubs in Denver, Orange County and Seattle where I’ve been able to lead and support professional events that MBA alums gravitate to.
I’ve sought out ways to help with local MBA admissions interviews and served as a mentor to current students, contributing to their career exploration. Other times, opportunities present themselves. A couple of years ago Debby Herczeg, from the admissions office, was recruiting at an event where I was speaking and I hopped behind the table to talk to prospective students – what fun!
One highlight stands out. While working at the Starbucks headquarters in Seattle several years ago, I had the pleasure of hosting (then) Dean Carolyn Woo and a team from the MBA program. It was an honor to be able to host a meeting of great people within two great organizations.
Why did you choose to stay involved?
I came to realize that I’m going to be an alum a lot longer than I’m going to be a student. Graduation marked the end of my time on campus, and the beginning of my time as an alum so I can make the most of it by staying involved with the community.
Giving back is in the DNA of many alum and in part, I too remain involved for the opportunity to give back and pay forward the support I received along the way. Staying involved has also benefitted me in many career and personal circumstances where I needed advice or counsel and could rely upon my ND network to shortcut my research. It has helped me stay current with the landscape of business through the multiple lenses, broadening my perspective. For me, the connection serves as an anchor that cuts across boundaries – we’re all ND MBA’s.
Do you want to help out your graduate business program in some way? Fill out our short alumni involvement form to share if you'd like to help out by working the Mendoza booth at grad program fairs, calling up admitted students to your grad program or sharing Mendoza news on social media.