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MBA-P program helps alumnus lead by example

by Linda Lenhoff,

Donell Morgan MBA’21, who earned his degree in Willamette’s MBA for Professionals program, serves as executive director of Elevate Oregon, a youth mentoring organization in Portland’s Parkrose Neighborhood, but he believes it’s way more than just a job. And this may be the true definition of success: “The kids I get to work with and help — it doesn't feel like work. It feels like I have an opportunity to give back,” says Morgan. 

Donell Morgan
Donell Morgan MBA’21

“So many great things continue to happen for me every day of my life: I get the opportunity to share my experiences, really talk to kids on the ground level, and be like, ‘You know, I was you at one point. I went through the same things you went through,’” Morgan continues. “And I’ve had a magnificent, fantastic life, and why can't it be you? Kids understand that they can strive to do those things as well.”

A former professional basketball player who still coaches the Parkrose High School boys’ varsity team, Morgan knew he wanted to work with kids and help them be more comfortable with who they are. 

“Where we are in our world today, people of different genders, different colors, different cultures have an opportunity to help shape and change our world. That has been at the forefront of Elevate Oregon’s mission,” he said.

Morgan believes that Willamette’s part-time program designed specifically for working professionals helped him formulate a lead-by-example style. 

“I was in a classroom with several different gender types, several different colors, and different cultures. The education was about working with people that don’t look like me, working with people that have different upbringings than me,” he said. “And that was the beauty about what I experienced at Willamette, and definitely something that I'm trying to continue to promote and execute at Elevate Oregon.”

Morgan values his years at Willamette and applauds such individuals as Associate Professor of Quantitative Methods Robert Walker, along with his classmates in his cohort.

“The beauty about the Willamette Business MBA for Professionals is that it brings you out of your shell, it brings us all out of our shells, and it brings us into a space where we all get to use our talents. It ensures that we all win together.”

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