“An alternative thinker who loves to question norms and launch new ideas forward.”
Fun fact about yourself: My dad is in the military, so I went to two different high schools and actually spent seven years living in Europe.
High School: Bettendorf High School
Minor(s): The Business of Social Impact, Legal Studies
Favorite Business Course: Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:
Extracurricular Activities: Teaching Racial Understanding Through Honesty (TRUTH), Diversity & Inclusion Summit, Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Co-Ed Fraternity
Leadership Roles: President/Vice President/Membership Chair/Curriculum Development Chair of TRUTH, Co-Founder of the Diversity & Inclusion Summit, Vice President of Membership/Vice President of Standards and Conduct/Vice President of Recruitment Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Co-Ed Fraternity
Community Work: City Faces Youth Engagement Program, Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement Community Assistant, St. Louis Juvenile Detention Center Volunteer, Small Business Initiative Team Lead, Taylor Community Consulting Program Consultant, Philanthropy Lab Student
Awards/Honors: Nelson Mandela Leadership Award, Frankie Muse Freeman Community Service Award, Excellence in Leadership Award Best New Event, James S. Kemper Scholar, Dean’s List (Spring 2018, Spring 2019)
Where have you interned during your college career?
- Washington University, Olin Business School, St. Louis, MO, Olin Fleischer Scholars Program Mentor
- Taproot Foundation, Chicago, IL, External Relations Fellow
- P. Morgan Chase & Co., Chicago, IL, Corporate Client Banking & Specialized Industries Summer Analyst
Where will you be working after graduation? Redstone Strategy Group, Analyst
Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Dr. Heather Cameron. She works officially under the Brown School of Social Work as a Professor of Practice in Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She teaches the Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship class in Olin as well as the Social Impact introductory course for the Business of Social Impact minor. Through taking classes with Heather, I’ve seen how I can emulate servant values and forge my own path in business to do the work I’m passionate about. She’s allowed me to develop my niche interests outside of the classroom and also trusts me to work on important regional and international projects with her. She is someone who innovates constantly and is part of the reason I feel so empowered moving on to social sector consulting post-grad.
What did you enjoy most about your business school? I think that Olin has really allowed me to chart my own path. Sure, there are classes I have to take, but there was always solid encouragement to explore a diverse set of coursework both within and outside the business school. That’s how I was able to pick up my two additional minors. In addition to course flexibility, the Olin Undergraduate Programs office does a really great job of building valuable, supportive relationships between students and staff that span the breadth of mentorship and genuine friendship. My four-year academic advisor and others within the office have become staple friends whom I feel comfortable updating about most things related to my time here at WashU.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? It would be the frameworks that business professionals use to solve complex problems can be valuable in all fields. For instance, my time studying finance and other disciplines within business has taught me about efficiency, data analysis, and the importance of consistent and strategic decision-making. No matter where I end up, I’ve developed a useful, pragmatic view that enables me to consider my creative ideas and their plausibility in tandem.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? As someone who had an elementary understanding of business before I got to WashU, my advice would be for students to come to business school with an open mind. It’s easy to get wrapped up in pursuing the most common tracks like banking or consulting. However, I think there is inherent value in taking the time to explore many of the career possibilities that can come from having a business degree. Students should evaluate their passions, strengths, and interests during their time at school to gain an understanding of their ideal job. I should add that there’s nothing wrong with pursuing a more common route, but that pursuing a route without the consideration of others would be a personal disservice.
What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I’ve gained some valuable life lessons from business school. I had naively assumed that I would be swamped with data analysis and technical skill development during my four years, but I’ve been given space to define myself and communicate that self to the rest of the world. I’ve become much more comfortable with public speaking from presenting so often and have learned how to create an authentic brand for myself. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet so many influential people through my coursework.
Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I would say my biggest accomplishment has been my leadership arc in my student group, Teaching Racial Understanding Through Honesty (TRUTH). TRUTH is a student group with a three-pronged mission: to educate members on issues regarding race relations through training, to lead facilitations with student groups on campus regarding similar topics, and to host campus-wide events that bring attention to identity-based discrimination. I would say that my ability to work with this group has consequently given me other opportunities to work with the greater Olin and WashU community.
When I first joined the TRUTH executive team as Membership Chair, we had zero facilitations scheduled, a very limited membership, and little name recognition across campus. Within that first executive position, I was able to recruit a class of 25 TRUTH new members, the largest ever. As Curriculum Development Chair, I worked with WashU’s Center for Diversity & Inclusion to innovate our facilitation curriculum on topics such as implicit bias, cultural appropriation, race and prejudice, and inclusive recruitment. As I moved to the Vice President and President roles and TRUTH became more involved with more student groups, we had the opportunity to do some legendary things and complete many more facilitations each semester. One semester we had 20! We’ve brought discussions to Greek organizations, sports teams, and the student union exec. We’ve also hosted some important events.
In January of 2018, we hosted American political activist Angela Davis. I was invited to introduce her to my school during the event. In October 2018, TRUTH hosted St. Louis police chiefs, the WashU police department, and WashU professors to discuss racial implications tied to the institution of policing. Working with TRUTH has opened the door for me to be involved in stimulating similar conversations across campus. My work with TRUTH has also been instrumental in my role as Co-Founder of Olin’s Annual Diversity & Inclusion Summit.
Which classmate do you most admire? I’ve admired Chazz Powell since I met her. She is an Accounting major, Chinese minor, and eventual CPA. Through Olin and Alpha Kappa Psi, she has demonstrated her strong work ethic and dedication to her personal goals. Just from knowing her, she’s taught me how to create more productive routines, ground myself and exercise more discipline. She is always taking more credit hours than me, and yet seamlessly navigating her other extracurricular leadership activities. On top of the things I already mentioned, she is a warm and trustworthy friend and anyone would agree that you can count on her for support, mentorship, and honesty. I am truly honored to know her!
Who would you most want to thank for your success? If I have to choose one person, I’d have to say my dad. He’s definitely been a pusher. For as long as I can remember, he has told me to work harder than the people around me, focus, and always do my best. Watching him work so hard throughout his career and then also be so selfless in his personal relationships sends a strong message to this day. He’s also taught me to have really strong values about service. As a military officer, he really feels a sense of duty and protection for this country. He loves being able to stand for something bigger than him and I do too. I’m thankful that he’s taught me to think about others first and to work for what I want.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The first item on my professional bucket list is to go to the Yale School of Management (SOM) for an MBA, ideally a joint MBA/PhD. I specify Yale SOM because I’ve heard about their deliberate approach in thinking about socially conscious business. I think this concept of thinking is still in the startup phase and I’m excited for the new literature destined to come out as businesses are held more accountable for their practices in the fields of social responsibility and equity. My second professional goal is to author a book. I enjoy communicating with others one-on-one and I think that a book could give me a great platform to share things I’ve learned through many of my personal transitions as a military brat, student, and eventually a professional.
What are your hobbies? Creatively, I write poetry, and have a bunch of collages, prints, and paintings on my wall. I like creating and observing art in general. I also study astrology and practice hot yoga pretty regularly. The astrology and yoga are great for my mindfulness. I also read fiction, non-fiction, or philosophy when I can.
What made Charlyn such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?
“One of Olin’s core values is diversity. Charlyn has embodied this value through leadership in many co-curricular activities as well as her academic and career pursuits. Of note is her co-founding Olin’s Diversity & Inclusion Summit. She and her co-founders planned, marketed, and programmed a full-day event bringing business professionals to campus to share the importance of diversity and inclusivity in social, academic and professional settings. Now in year three, the Summit continues to be a day to celebrate diversity. I am so proud to have Charlyn in Olin’s Class of 2020.”
Associate Dean and Director of Undergraduate Programs