McDonough School of Business
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News Story

Embracing Our Jesuit Values: McDonough Students Strive to Make a Positive Impact on the World

The Spirit of Georgetown shapes the culture and vision of the Hilltop. It influences the fabric of the educational landscape, community life, and service-oriented approach at Georgetown McDonough and across the university.

In and out of the Rafik B. Hariri Building, the McDonough community displays its Jesuit values through everyday interactions, classroom projects, extracurriculars, global experiences, research innovations, service opportunities, and beyond.

Here, meet a few students, faculty, and staff who strive to make the world a better place as they embody the values that define the Georgetown experience: Faith that Does Justice, Caring for Our Common Home, Community in Diversity, People for Others, and Cura Personalis.

People for Others: Greg Wallig (EMBA’24)

As the managing principal of MetroDC, Greg Wallig (EMBA’24) is responsible for the culture and care of hundreds of local employees and the clients with whom they serve. This is a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly. 

“One of my priorities as a business leader is to provide an environment where my employees can bring the best of themselves to serve their clients and each other,” said Wallig. “Caring for the individual needs of each person has led me to create the first office in my firm to incorporate gender-neutral bathrooms, full ADA accessibility, as well as contemplation and wellness rooms into the office design.”

Wallig (center) with Global Fund for Children’s President and CEO John Hecklinger and Co-Chair Swatee Deepak (photo credit: Global Fund for Children).

Wallig’s care and commitment to his community extends well beyond the walls of his company to citizens across the world. Having previously lived on four different continents across a variety of cultures, the executive leader understands the potential that local communities have to drive social change. He currently serves as co-chair of the Global Fund for Children, which is a not-for-profit organization that leverages grassroots development in high-potential community organizations to help children and youth reach their full potential and advance their rights. Since the organization’s inception, the Global Fund for Children has invested over $46 million to help more than 725 community-based organizations in 24 countries. 

“What drew me to the organization is its entrepreneurial focus, its careful stewardship of funds, and its mission,” said Wallig. “As the finance committee chair and member of the executive committee, I am deeply involved in supporting the mission of the organization, bringing my talents and resources to impact youth and children around the globe.”

In addition to his efforts at Global Fund for Children, Wallig has also volunteered his time with the board of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the Virginia Society of CPAs, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, and as an advisory board member for the business school at his alma mater, William & Mary. But the most challenging board position, according to Wallig, has been through his service on the governing body of his church. 

“This experience taught me first-hand how to combine perseverance, discretion, respect, compromise, and stewardship to achieve better outcomes,” said Wallig. “Most importantly, I learned the power of discernment in the context of leadership.”

Faith that Does Justice: Siddiq Iddrisu (MBA’24)

Siddiq Iddrisu (MBA‘24) strives to make a positive impact on other people’s lives in everything that he does. His journey at Georgetown has been marked by a strong commitment to cultivating community — whether that be with his classmates in the Flex MBA program or volunteering with Georgetown Reach, a program that collaborates with underrepresented eighth grade students and their families to enhance their preparation and readiness for college.  

Through Georgetown Reach, Iddrisu has helped students improve their financial literacy ahead of college applications and campus life.

“College can be one of the best times of one’s life. It’s where you have an opportunity for freedom with the least amount of responsibilities,” said Iddrisu. “With that being said, I want to make sure that students are not blinded by some of the things they might face, such as budgeting and financial planning, once they get into college. I hope I can help give them a head start before they make these types of life decisions.” 

Iddrisu pictured with members of the Omega Psi Phil Fraternity.

For Iddrisu, education is about fostering a sense of community beyond individual learning and personal growth. 

“It warms my heart to hear students discussing financial concepts and applying them at home. Having those conversations with them fulfills me. Education is about helping others, not hoarding knowledge,” said Iddrisu. 

His desire to help others is not limited to Georgetown Reach. Since 2016, Iddrisu also has been part of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, where he is involved in community service as well as silent contributions to those in need through donations, recognizing that even small acts of kindness can make a big difference. 

“Trying to embody the Jesuit value of Faith that Does Justice is about helping those I can assist,” said Iddrisu. “No matter how big the table is, and no matter how much food we have, I want to make sure that everybody is taken care of.”

What motivates him to help others is rooted in empathy. “I know what it feels like to be hopeless,” Iddrisu said. “And I also know that it takes a lot of pride to ask for help. And when people seek help, I don’t take it lightly.” 

Iddrisu is committed to fostering a sense of belonging, where people are equally cared for and supported, in every aspect of his life. 

Community in Diversity: Yvette Jiang (MBA’24)

Jiang (second from right) during an AAAPI ERG event at Georgetown.

A journey that began as a student in Georgetown’s Conflict Resolution Program led Yvette Jiang (MBA’24) to a long-standing connection with the university. As an active student and employee on the Hilltop, Jiang leads with a vision to empower and engage staff and faculty through diversity and inclusion initiatives

Jiang is one of the representatives of the Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group (AAAPI ERG) at Georgetown. Her goal is to foster an inclusive, fair, and just campus community where employees can strengthen their leadership skills and advocacy efforts at their place of work.

“I believe [AAAPI] is groundbreaking in a sense that we’re the first ERG on Georgetown’s campus,” said Jiang. “I enjoy having conversations that are curated in a purposeful way. I like the personal touch I have with the staff members and the opportunity to learn from their stories.”

Jiang, alongside other representatives, have coordinated different events for staff and faculty, including book clubs, social events, retreats, and tours.  

Jiang envisions incorporating professional development programming for members of the  group, such as introducing mentoring programs. She also aspires to foster connections with other ERGs on campus to create a more inclusive environment. 

According to Jiang, a DEI grant was key in advancing the ERG’s initiatives. Through the support of the William Graham DEI and Military Support Fund, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Grant provides funding to explore innovative projects and initiatives that have a positive impact on Georgetown’s diverse community, both within and beyond McDonough.

Jiang highlights the importance of having ERGs on campus and emphasizes their role in making employees feel included and represented. Fostering a Community in Diversity is something that Jiang takes seriously.

“Having ERGs on campus retains employees and makes them feel a sense of belonging. I hope that members of the ERG can bring diversity, equity, and inclusion in this environment to our future endeavors,” said Jiang.  

Outside of her Georgetown involvement, Jiang’s commitment to creating inclusive communities extends to local government in Alexandria, Virginia. She serves on the Alexandria Commission for Women, where she encourages equal opportunities for women in all aspects of their lives. In this role, she has addressed issues such as affordable housing, transportation, domestic violence, and reproductive rights. 

Jiang hopes to continue creating more initiatives that empower others and amplify the voices of people from various backgrounds. 

“I really just want to serve the community through meaningful engagement. I cherish the connection with each member. When I learn from others’ stories, I believe I learn more about myself,” said Jiang. 

Caring for Our Common Home: Langston Swafford (MS-ESM’24)

Langston Swafford (MS-ESM ‘24) believes in the power of climate justice. With his brother, Swafford started an organization called Everything Business Social Culture (EBS Culture), which aims to foster a more holistic approach to tackling the challenges of climate change.

Founded in 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana, where Swafford was born and raised, EBS Culture promotes sustainable behaviors through community service and dialogue. It started as a gathering of 13 men dedicated to picking up trash in the city. But, over time, the organization has evolved to include partnerships with nonprofits that promote water management and green infrastructure. 

Swafford has led community clean-ups, a tree planting event that involved over 100 volunteers, as well as green infrastructure and water management demonstrations.

Swafford during a community clean-up with EBS Culture.

“I serve as an advocate for communities that are susceptible to the impact of climate change,” said Swafford. “As an African American male, I have a duty to my community. With New Orleans being a majority black community and being probably the most vulnerable community in America to climate change and the sea level rise, I have a double obligation, not only to my racial community but also to my city as a whole.” 

His commitment to instilling a positive change in the world was the driving force that led him to attend Georgetown. Swafford recognizes the importance of continuing to immerse himself in the university’s Jesuit values while pursuing an education with a meaningful purpose. 

“The combination of Georgetown being a highly regarded institution but also being grounded in  Jesuit values was an important factor in my decision to enroll in the Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability Management program.”

In class, Swafford has analyzed the difficulty of quantifying the intangible pain experienced by those who lose their homes due to climate change, a topic that hits close to home as a New Orleans native who saw the devastating impacts of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He is convinced that the environmental degradation on our planet requires advocates to address the human aspect of the impacts beyond statistics and metrics.

As Swafford continues his educational and personal journey at Georgetown and EBS Culture, he believes that the world is bigger than himself. It’s his commitment to sustainability and embodying the ideals of Caring for Our Common Home that he will use to foster a brighter, more sustainable future for generations to come.

Cura Personalis: Kerry Pace

As the world navigated ongoing disruptions from the pandemic, the preservation of McDonough’s renowned community was paramount – a mission that Kerry Pace, associate dean of MBA programs, and her team, took to heart. Their operation was clear: leverage the global power of the Georgetown community to boost morale and care for one another in mind, body, and spirit. The Jesuit philosophy of cura personalis, or care of the whole person, became the guiding principle of the operation, which is a centuries-old hallmark of the Georgetown tradition to look after one another and encourage their wellbeing. 

Within weeks, the MBA team launched a series of events and activities to help students reconnect to the community during virtual learning. A month later, McDonough then opened the programs to all students, faculty, staff, and alumni across the school and around the world, welcoming hundreds of Hoyas to tune in for sessions to laugh with comedians, learn how to cook mindfully, discover the power of sleep, or to share their gratitude with others on a virtual bulletin board.

While the community has once again returned to campus, the mission of Operation: Cura Personalis remains the same. “What I hope for all students when they leave Georgetown is that they have been transformed,” said Pace. “They gained business concepts and skills but they also became a better person as a result of our community. That is the spirit of Georgetown, and that is the ethos of what we’re hoping to accomplish through Operation: Cura Personalis.

Operation: Cura Personalis programming continues to be a hallmark of the McDonough community, with ongoing webinars, events, and opportunities to engage in health, happiness, and overall wellness.

Community in Diversity: Daniela Zuluaga (MBA’24)

Daniela Zuluaga (MBA’24) is passionate about creating transformative impact through diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Through her leadership roles on campus and leading with the idea that DEI has a relevant economic component, Zuluaga has inspired others to create an inclusive environment for all. 

Zuluaga’s interest in DEI began while she was pursuing her master’s in economics where she explored gender disparities in the labor market. Since then, Zuluaga has dedicated her career to fostering more welcoming communities. She has worked in multilateral organizations where she has researched gender, education, and labor markets. 

“DEI is a topic for all of us to explore, regardless of whether we identify with a specific gender or religion,” she said. “We should always care. I strive to encourage a sense of community that respects the differences of gender, race, and religion.” 

At the Inter-American Development Bank, where she worked as a consultant, Daniela collaborated with her coworkers to establish the first employee resource group for people with disabilities. Together, they aimed to provide their colleagues with a network to overcome their challenges. 

In her role as a consultant at the International Finance Corporation, Zuluaga contributed to building a business case for the economic inclusion of people with disabilities and the LGBTQIA+ community. She analyzed best practices for integrating these populations into the economy. 

Zuluaga with peers and program leadership during the Graduate Women in Business Leadership Conference.

Zuluaga’s commitment to DEI extended to Georgetown McDonough, where she’s served as the vice president of DEI for the Student Government Association since 2023. She’s organized workshops on gender pronouns, supported affinity clubs in their daily initiatives, developed a survey to understand people’s needs around DEI, and advocated for attendance at events that offer job opportunities for students from underrepresented backgrounds.  

“As a community, we have to care, engage, and participate in initiatives that create impact,” said Zuluaga. “Georgetown’s community invites us to really care about each other. It’s important to continue fostering our Jesuit values overall.”

Zuluaga believes that DEI initiatives benefit both individuals and institutions. She explained that promoting inclusive environments enhances the well-being of the community and also boosts the performance of corporations. 

“I believe work around DEI is a win-win situation,” she said. “Companies that promote an inclusive and diverse environment experience lower turnover rates and more creativity. Organizations that have employees from different backgrounds benefit from broader ideas and perspectives, which ultimately leads to better outcomes.”

In the long term, Daniela envisions weaving DEI into every aspect of her personal and professional life. When looking to the future, her dedication to this mission is long-lasting. For Zuluaga, creating diverse environments is not just a personal commitment; it’s a shared responsibility.

Class of 2024
Executive MBA
M.S. in Environment and Sustainability Management