Passion for Diversity Dialogue Series

The Passion for Diversity Dialogue Series focuses on the experiences of underrepresented students and professionals in international business and study abroad.

Passion for Diversity is one of the seven competencies that make up a global mindset and is defined as a willingness to seek out and consider diverse viewpoints, appreciate the values and beliefs of others, and collaborate on diverse teams.

Commitment to Diversity

The Center for Global Business is committed to providing students with opportunities to develop a global mindset and the Smith population with links to the international community. We serve all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, differing abilities, religion, socioeconomic status, age, citizenship, or any other identity.

The center practices diversity and inclusion in international education in the creation of for-credit global programs, co-curricular programs, and developing school-wide international partnerships. As the driver of global learning and international activity, we have a responsibility to provide the Smith community with accessible opportunities and to foster an appreciation for a diverse community that engages people of all backgrounds.

Past Events

Black and Abroad

November 18, 2021

Event highlights

The Center for Global Business hosted this event during International Education Week (IEW) as part of the Passion for Diversity Dialogue Series. The event focused on Black and African American alumni and their experiences working and traveling abroad. After a brief panel, students and alumni participated in an open discussion. This event was offered in partnership with the Maryland Smith MBAA and the Black MBAA.

  • Rashida Petersen ’03, Interim Director of Philanthropy, Center for Cultural Power and Founder and CEO, 1847 Philanthropic, Founder and CEO, 1847 Philanthropic
  • Maurice Nick ’12, MBA/MS, ’16, Supply Chain Director, Tata Consumer Products
  • Jainaba Ceesay, EMBA ’17, CEO and Founder, EBROSSO and Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Sales and Marketing, Bowie State University
Speaker Bios

Rashida Petersen ’03

Rashida Petersen is the CEO and Founder of 1847 Philanthropic. The catalyst to establish 1847 Philanthropic emanates from Ms. Petersen’s strong desire to create lasting impact in Africa by bringing the essentials of fundraising to their nonprofit institutions.

Ms. Petersen’s career has been built on expertise gained from leading major fundraising and development initiatives in Africa as well as expanding U.S. trade and investment in developing countries. Working within the development departments of international nonprofits, she has been responsible for annual funding goals of over $16 million dollars in institutional funding and over $1.3 million dollars cumulative in unrestricted sponsorship dollars.

Her steadfast focus on causes with strong community involvement and local impact enabled her to work with some of the major civil rights leaders of our time, including Ambassador Andrew Young, at GoodWorks International, an international management-consulting firm and she served as the vice-president for programs and business development at OIC International, this organization carries the legacy of the late Reverend Leon H. Sullivan.

Ms. Petersen began her career at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where she served as the East Africa desk officer within the International Trade Administration. Additionally, she served as the acting senior commercial officer with the African Development Bank in Tunis, Tunisia. She was formerly the director of membership and marketing for The Corporate Council on Africa, a trade organization devoted to increasing U.S. trade and investment in Africa.

Ms. Petersen is a noted speaker on topics related to international development, organizational development and local impact, fundraising, as well as the importance of diversity in international affairs at conferences and events around the world including, Council on Foreign Relations’ Conference on Diversity in International Affairs, SXSW, Skoll World Forum, and Africa 2018 Forum amongst others.

Ms. Petersen holds an International Business degree from the University of Maryland. She currently serves on the advisory board of the University of Maryland’s Hinman CEOs Program; is a member of Bridge Institute’s Africa Policy Group; active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and a mentor for College Bound in Washington, D.C.

Maurice Nick ’12, MBA/MS, ’16

Maurice Nick is a Supply Chain Director at Tata Consumer Products, an Indian Beverage company. In this role he passionately drives continuous improvement culture while implementing the strategic road map to achieve breakthrough performance in service level, working capital, quality, delivery, cost and growth. His business unit portfolio is comprised of $700 million in annual revenue and the team he manages spans every part of the business. In previous roles, he’s managed operations in 4 different countries. China, India, Taiwan and The United States. Maurice has obtained his Master’s in business Administration with an extra focus on Strategy and a Master's in Supply Chain from the University of Maryland. Maurice loves to travel, and has worked and studied in over 25 countries.

Jainaba Ceesay, EMBA ’17

Jainaba’s professional career spans over two decades including 20 years as an accomplished banking, management, and leadership and financial professional. She has proven a record of accomplishment in leadership, change management, retail and consumer banking, commercial lending and business development in the banking, finance industry and higher education.

Jainaba has won numerous prestigious awards for her outstanding work including BB&T’s top Sterling Performer Award, M&T Bank’s President Council Award and most recently Outstanding Adjunct at Bowie State University.

After two decades in the financial field leading teams and working for Fortune 500 companies, she founded EBROSSO consulting. EBROSSO consulting, is a global management consulting firms that offers Business Problem Solving, Strategic Entrepreneurship and Financial consulting, Leadership and Coaching, Sales and Marketing services via one, classrooms, face to face, webinars and Keynote Speaking.

Jainaba is alum of Robert H Smith of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park and an adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Sales and Marketing at Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland.

Pride in the Global Workplace

April 27, 2021

Event highlights

The Center for Global Business hosted this event during Campus Pride month as part of the Passion for Diversity Dialogue Series. The event focused on LGBTQ+ leaders and their experiences working and traveling abroad. After a brief panel, students and alumni participated in an open discussion. This event was offered in partnership with the Queer Leadership Accelerator (QLA) and the Smith Pride Alliance (SPA).

  • Mark Lenhart, MBA ’00, Executive Director, CET Academic Programs
  • Jason Wang, Ph.D. Candidate, Counseling Psychology, Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education Department, University of Maryland, College Park
Speaker Bios

Mark Lenhart, MBA ’00

Mark Lenhart is the Executive Director and a co-owner of CET Academic Programs, a study abroad provider based in Washington, DC. Mark has worked for CET since 1990, when he began as Resident Director of CET’s Harbin Chinese Language Program. After nearly five years studying and working in China, he became CET’s Director in 1995, and he oversaw CET’s expansion from a small provider of two Chinese language programs to a much larger organization with dozens of programs worldwide. Mark frequently speaks at national conferences on topics related to study abroad risk, underrepresentation, and the LGBTQ student experience. As a student, Mark focused on Asian Studies, Chinese language, and photography, and he has degrees from Bowdoin (BA), Harvard (MA), and the University of Maryland (MBA). He lives in Washington, DC with his husband and twin toddlers.

Jason Wang

Jason grew up in North Carolina, among other places, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Asian Studies - Chinese Language. During undergrad, a study abroad experience in Beijing unexpectedly changed his life, shaping his career path and changing his understanding of what it meant to be a gay American of Chinese descent in the world today. This initial experience led to a first career in managing study abroad programs for almost a decade, where he particularly enjoyed supporting other students with diverse identities during their study abroad experiences. Watching students discover new academic, career, and life interests through the transformative power of study abroad also led to a passion in helping students explore new life paths after their study abroad experience. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Maryland, where his research interests include the career development and well-being of study abroad students, study abroad decision-making processes and outcomes through a social cognitive lens, and how people cope with unemployment after a job loss.

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