McDonough School of Business
News Story

Olympic Gymnast Addresses Students at Diversity Dialogue Conference

On February 26, the third annual Diversity Dialogue Conference returned to the McDonough School of Business, moving forward the conversation of minority empowerment and diversity inclusion in the workplace. Hosted by the Georgetown Aspiring Minority Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs (GAMBLE), the all-day conference featured distinguished panelists and guest speakers, as well as networking opportunities and industry breakout sessions. The day concluded with a keynote address by Dominique Dawes, a three-time Olympic gymnast and the first African-American gymnast to win a gold medal.

Dawes, a graduate of the University of Maryland, began her gymnastics career at just six years old, entering her first Olympic games at the age of 15. Out of the three games, Dawes’ most successful run came at the 1996 Atlanta games, where she and seven teammates captured the gold medal for Team USA. In addition to the overall win, the medal solidified Dawes’ place in the U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame.

Dawes told the crowd, comprising mostly undergraduate business students, “We might all be different, but we all have that one goal to be happy. No matter what race, what gender, what religion, what family, or what socio-economic background we come from, we all strive for happiness.”

Dawes recognized that with happiness can come pain, urging everyone to turn personal pain into a purpose.

“There is always something good and positive you can take away from a painful experience,” she said.

Dawes used examples from her days as an Olympian to emphasize teamwork, respect, drive, and positivity.

“No matter what, you should always push and challenge yourself,” she said. “Don’t be in an environment where you are just showing up because that’s not fair to you. Don’t take yourself out of the game.”