EMBA Alumnus Applies Leadership Lessons to Seattle Nonprofit

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Ahmed Bur (EMBA’19) has recently been named the chief financial officer of Treehouse, a nonprofit that works with children experiencing foster care across Washington state. Bur always has wanted to be a part of a company’s mission to make a change in the world and after experiencing first-hand the impact Treehouse has had, he is excited for this next chapter.

“Treehouse is dear to my heart as a father and I’ve seen it change lives,” said Bur. “I’ve been inspired by companies that can do good in the world through their ethics and leadership — the mark a company leaves can last a lifetime.”

Treehouse strives to make a world where every youth in foster care has the support and opportunity to reach for their dreams and be successful in adulthood. They work to create and promote a racially and culturally diverse community, whilst striving for equality for all of their children.

After emigrating to the United States from Sudan at 14, Bur was able to take part in community, state, and city-funded resources he had as a teenager in Brooklyn. He wholeheartedly believes those programs helped him secure a full scholarship to the University of Maryland, which bootstrapped the rest of his career.

After college, Bur landed a job at the American College of Cardiology, working alongside patients to make the financial process more efficient. During his time there, Bur met a member of the inaugural Executive MBA class at Georgetown who shared his passion for the program and all he had learned many years earlier. 

“My friend was 23 years out of the program and was still connected with members of his cohort,” said Bur. “It was amazing to witness the bonds that were still so strong.”

Bur, looking for this kind of bond and leadership experience, would later apply to the EMBA program and was accepted in 2017. 

The program, from a curriculum perspective, taught him the importance of working alongside diverse groups of people. The cohorts were placed in small groups for projects, so learning to collaborate with others from various cultural, educational, and societal backgrounds is something that has served Bur well throughout his career. 

At Treehouse, Bur works with highly intelligent and motivated individuals whose expertise range from areas in social work, to policy. It is his job to improve financial processes and operations, without losing sight of the main goal — the children.

Bur also gained valuable leadership skills from the EMBA program.

“From a leadership communications perspective, it was incredible what EMBA did for me,” Bur said. “It provided me with the resources that help me to improve everyday.”

Treehouse is not the only social impact program on Bur’s resume. After graduation, he started a rideshare company with one of his classmates called Red Wagon Village. They connect parents to other parents in an effort to promote carpooling and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Parents are able to find each other, connect, find the best people to carpool with, and track their children with regard to when they get picked up or dropped off. 

Bur is grateful that he was able to find something that drives him and makes an impact on others. The expertise he gained at Georgetown McDonough enables him to continue to make these impressions on society. He hopes that others will seek out this experience.

“If you are an undergraduate or graduate student thinking whether or not to apply to this program — you absolutely should,” said Bur. “The EMBA family is strong. When you say you’re a Hoya, it doesn’t matter what your degree is or when you graduated, you’ll get a call or a reference back. You will understand what I mean when you go through the experience.”