Jasmine R. Washington

Class of 2019

Hometown: Staten Island, NY
Undergraduate University: State University of New York at Plattsburgh College
Class Year: 2014
Major/Minor: Biology
Employer: Ferguson Enterprises
Position: Inclusion and Diversity Program Manager

What inspired you to pursue a career in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space?

Growing up in New York shaped a lot of my perspective. From a young age, I saw a lot of inequities that people in different communities were experiencing. I knew I wanted to support people, and I thought the way to do that was to become a doctor. However, while in college, I shifted my focus on activism, social justice, and community organization; to work on solutions for the issues that I saw people in historically underserved communities experiencing, both on campus and around the world. After undergrad, I took some time off and started working Apple retail in Virginia Beach. I held several positions there, including a Community Champion role where I worked with nonprofits in the Hampton Roads area, which ignited my passion to serve others even further.

Why was William & Mary's PTMBA the right fit for you?

My manager at the time told me she was interested in the PTMBA program and mentioned that the program coordinators were driving down from Williamsburg to Virginia Beach to have coffee with her. I was extremely impressed that they were putting so much time and effort into one student. I also thought that the school valued my work history and used it as an integral part of my application into the program was really important. All of this showed me that the PTMBA program truly values its students and prospective students, as well as their individual, unique experiences.

What were the biggest lessons you learned in the PTMBA program?

My experience at William & Mary taught me a lot about professionalism and how businesses operate at both a macro and micro scale. I work with a lot of cross-functional teams being in inclusion and diversity, and I have to have a deep understanding of different areas of the business, such as marketing and talent acquisition, in addition to understanding how competing priorities are managed effectively in an organization. William & Mary's PTMBA gave me that foundational knowledge to be able to transition into my current role at a complex organization and be successful.

How has the Tribe network supported your career goals?

I was referred to my current role at Ferguson by one of my former classmates from the PTMBA program. I was working at the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Specialist. I am always looking to grow, advance and progress in my career. When I saw on LinkedIn that Ferguson was accepting applications for my current role, I contacted my former classmate who works at Ferguson. He sent me the hiring manager's information, shared my resume, and the Tribe connection helped support my candidate profile and potential to be hired. There have also been other alumni from the PTMBA program who have extended their time and assistance toward helping me through my career journey. Michael Brent, a graduate of the PTMBA program, went above and beyond to help me, and I am immensely grateful to him for his support.

What can students do to set themselves up for success during this experience?

I entered into the process of becoming a William & Mary student with so much fear. Pursuing a degree heavily focused on math—a subject I had struggled with in the past—was unnerving. I was also intimidated going into a space where everyone had so much experience. I soon learned that there were so many resources at William & Mary, my contributions and ideas were valued, and the faculty is so supportive.

Prospective and current students should focus on all of the positive things that can come from this program: such as the knowledge and skills you will acquire, the opportunities available to you, the professional connections you will establish, and the lifelong friendships that you will make.



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