Jessica Grounds, EML ’12
Founder and Principal Strategist, Solid Grounds Strategy
Why did you pursue an executive degree at Georgetown?
Most traditional business programs took me out of my networks in Washington, D.C., or were focused on areas of study that only mildly intrigued me, but the Executive Master’s in Leadership (EML) program seemed the perfect fit of personal leadership development, business strategy, experiences, and conversations that could help hone my strengths as a leader and open my thinking to new concepts for the work I do to empower women to lead in politics.
What was the most rewarding aspect of the EML program?
First, the program gave me incredible tools and language to enable my natural leadership tendencies to be even more effective. I have led a number of organizations, and the EML program helped me understand how and why I lead and manage people, and it helped me better understand the complexities and challenges of leading an organization. Second, my classmates taught me so much. They are diverse in so many ways and brought to the table energy, passion, and interesting perspectives. They are a great network of connections that I value.
What was your most memorable experience?
On our trip to Cape Town, South Africa, we were tasked with consulting various companies and NGOs in the country. My team produced research and a presentation for a fascinating NGO doing work in South Africa and across the continent. It was wonderful to get to know a country's challenges and culture through the process of helping an organization there. I also learned so much about the history and hurdles that South Africa has faced and still faces.
How has your Georgetown McDonough education affected your career?
I found my passion early in life, but the EML program helped me to hone my energy on my next career step. For my Capstone Project, I wrote a business plan to start a new company for women leaders in politics and business. The program helped me blend my strengths and develop avenues to my next professional role.
What would you tell a prospective student thinking about enrolling in the EML program?
This program is wonderful if you have a strong sense of who you are but want to be challenged to find your next step. It will make you stretch and grow in ways you will not expect. I am more than thrilled with my experience at Georgetown McDonough's Executive's Master's in Leadership program.
At Georgetown McDonough, leaders never graduate. Executive degree program students have access to a wide, growing network of distinguished Georgetown alumni and faculty from around the world who are leaders in a wide range of industries.
When students complete their degrees, they leave with an open invitation to return to Executive Education classrooms to refresh their knowledge and reconnect with faculty. Opportunities are available for executive education degree program alumni to:
- Audit elective courses on a space-
- Engage with current students through guest lectures and teaching, as judges for case competitions, or as advisors to students on business planning and entrepreneurship
- Attend alumni events