McDonough School of Business
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Georgetown MBA Features Alicia Petross and Nomblé Coleman (MBA‘18) from The Hershey Company at Annual Focus on Diversity Day

The Georgetown MBA Admissions team hosted its annual Focus on Diversity event, a special program designed to engage top-performing women, underrepresented students, and LGBTQ+ students within the Full-time and Flex MBA community.

The day-long event is geared toward prospective MBA students to learn more about life as a student at McDonough and how the Hoya community focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) through course offerings, campus programming, and more. Prospective students have the opportunity to learn about the Georgetown McDonough experience as well as gain exposure to various professional spaces through an admissions case study, an overview of the MBA Career Center, networking, and panel discussions.

The event featured a morning keynote from Alicia Petross, chief diversity officer of The Hershey Company, and Nomblé Coleman (MBA‘18), manager of omnichannel marketing at The Hershey Company in a discussion titled “Co-Creation Across Generations: How an Emerging Workforce is Transforming Hershey.” 

Coleman shared insights into her decision to attend Georgetown for her business education, and then Hershey for her professional career, with a focus on their ongoing commitments to DEI. Coleman explained how both institutions have taken action to advance DEI efforts which includes initiatives such as the Consortium for Graduate Study of Management, a network of 22 member schools that aim to support underrepresented minorities in MBA programs across the country with ongoing mentorship, connection, and community-building opportunities.

“Georgetown prepared me to be a business leader at The Hershey Company and this event was the beginning of the transformation process for the prospective students to find their place in the world as well. Both Georgetown and The Hershey Company are on a journey to continually elevate DEI practices as a standard of doing business throughout their organizations and I am excited to be an active participant in their evolution,” Coleman said. 

Additionally, Coleman explained how Hershey’s purpose to ‘create more moments of goodness’ aligned with her personal values of making every situation that she enters better than when she first arrived, which was a motivation to join the company.

Coleman was also the president of the Black MBA Association at McDonough and led the first ITrek of the class to Africa. She also was involved in the National Black MBA Association where she led a team of students in a case competition where they competed against 38 schools and brought home a second-place win. 

“As a McDonough alumna and marketing manager at The Hershey Company, I was proud to participate in this year’s Focus on Diversity event. I fondly remember attending the same event when I was a prospective student evaluating business school programs. I take the phrase “Hoyas helping Hoyas” to heart, so it was a special, full-circle moment for me to be back on campus, paying it forward to prospective students as others once did for me,” Coleman said. 

Alicia Petross leads the development and execution of Hershey’s Pathways Project framework; delivering DEI strategies company-wide. Externally, Petross expands on Hershey’s DEI framework and represents the company through key industry commitments, which includes the Paradigm for Parity, CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, the National Organization on Disability, the Look Closer Campaign, and Financial Literacy for All. 

Petross spoke about her passion for making Hershey a more inclusive and diverse workplace, emphasizing the importance of service, such as her involvement with the Eastmore House, at the Milton Hershey School, where she speaks to young girls about her career and professional accomplishments. 

“I’m there [at the Eastmore House] at least once a month, hanging out with them, reading stories, doing their hair, talking about what I do at work, and answering questions. Those are simply some of the best moments of the day. So, for us, this concept of service is truly important,” Petross said. 

During her keynote, Petross also emphasized the importance of vulnerability and transparency when dealing with representation in the workplace as well as why setting ambitious DEI goals for organizations to follow is paramount for their overall success.

“At least six times a year we are checking in with our workforce. We are asking them questions about their daily experience, about the performance of the company, and about more resources that they need. That’s one type of listening. But, there’s another type of listening that we’ve been doing throughout the pandemic, and that’s plain old face-to-face conversation, or now, Teams conversation. These conversations have gotten really deep and really meaningful.

Watch the MBA Focus on Diversity Day keynote on YouTube.