The 2014 Sacramento Business Journal’s “40 under 40” awards event Nov. 19, honored 40 business leaders under the age of 40 for their passion and innovations in business. The award recognizes outstanding young business leaders in the city of Sacramento for their accomplishments. Drexel’s name is also being recognized this year, as six Drexel Sacramento graduates won the award.
The graduates include Ashley Brand, community benefit manager for Dignity Health; Jessica Kriegel, organizational development consultant at Oracle; Dean O’Brien, health construction financing specialist at Cal-Mortgage Loan Insurance Program; Clarence Lee, founder of Each of the recipients recently graduated, all within the past four years.
Four of the graduates earned a Master of Business Administration degree, while Brand graduated with a master’s of public health and Kriegel with a doctorate in education. Kriegel now works with the Sacramento Area Organization Development Network, “a professional association of organization development (OD) professionals, non-professionals, and students,” according to its website.
The organization focuses on building the networks of communities to help them better serve the needs of their residents. Citizens can join the program in a professional track or in an open track, and are teamed up with members of the organization who help them network and increase their levels of business-related success.
Alternatively, Brand works for an organization called Dignity Health, which owns six hospitals in several California counties.
Brand said, “Through this position, I … carry out Dignity Health’s mission into the communities we serve by developing partnerships with community organizations and creating programs that increase access to quality health care for underserved populations.” Brand works directly with the community in Sacramento to increase health care accessibility.
Brand is not alone in her endeavors of reaching out to the community. Interest and active involvement in one’s own community is something Sin believes Drexel is skilled at developing in its students.
“[Drexel] is really involved in civic engagement here at Sacramento. … They do so much to make sure the students and the alumni are really engaged in the communities in their areas, so that their professional development continues [with] support from the university,” Sin said.
Sin is a U.S. Navy veteran and works with other female veterans through the California Department of Veterans Affairs. However, she has always had high aspirations and hopes for the future even after the Navy.
“I was always, throughout my career in the navy, wanting to go back to college,” Sin said. After ending her career in the U.S. Navy, she did just that, finishing her MBA at Drexel University Sacaramento. “I joined the Navy so that I wouldn’t have to go to college. … I was intimidated.”
However, Sin now cites her graduation with an MBA as her biggest accomplishment thus far in her career. The Drexel approach to hands-on learning and putting students in real-world situations has shown to be an effective tool for teaching students what to expect after graduation.
“[Drexel] gave us the chance to meet a lot of great emerging leaders and established leaders here in California. … I think that [Drexel] definitely provides a lot of introduction into that community,” Sin said. She also mentioned that her nomination for the 40 under 40 award came from Drexel and expressed her gratitude for that nomination.
“[Drexel does] so much to make sure the students and the alumni are really engaged in the communities in their areas, so that their professional development continues [with] support from the University,” she said.
When asked what they considered a large part of their success was due to, the recipients replied with their education from Drexel, as it supplied them with much more than just academic learning.
“Drexel prepared me by setting high expectations for their students with regards to making us accountable for what we got out of the program,” Brand explained.
The fact that 15 percent of this year’s 40 under 40 recipients were Drexel graduates is something the university and its students and faculty should be proud of. Each Drexel recipient is also very unique — the range of business administration being performed by each recipient is impressive. However, the scope is larger than the University and larger than a simple award given out to 40 recipients each year. Sin sums up this idea: “It’s not so much about me or about the award as much as it is about the activity of bringing people together to further the development of this region. … That’s something the [Sacramento Business Journal] does well and that’s something that Drexel obviously does well.” The focus here, as it often is with Drexel, is on the goal of bettering the community into which graduates enter after college.