Meet Kiara Goodwin
Meet Kiara Goodwin, Full-time MBA student and Global Women's Leadership Programme Scholar. A seasoned PR professional, she has a passion for storytelling with social purpose
“I enjoy connecting with others. I’ve always been curious about people’s stories and understanding what makes them tick,” says Kiara Goodwin, Full-time MBA student and recipient of the Global Women’s Leadership Programme scholarship. A seasoned PR and communications professional, she also has another passion—business and storytelling with social purpose.
When deciding to join the Full-time MBA, Kiara was looking for extra credentials to gain a seat at the table of the boardroom. She says: “Organisations sometimes still view communications and PR as an add-on or a ‘nice to have’.”
Developing leadership skills is one of the core goals of the Global Women’s Leadership Programme. The Programme provides women with a scholarship towards their tuition in addition to leadership training, skills workshops and networking events.
Kiara says: “I jumped at the opportunity to network with professional women who have a similar desire to see other women succeed. I want to foster more connection and I love that the Programme offers more opportunities for women to come together and learn from each other’s experiences.”
Kiara earned a Bachelor’s in Journalism and Strategic Communication at the University of Missouri-Columbia. After graduating, she joined the staff team at the Fellowship Bible Church in Arkansas, building the Church’s communications and social media strategy from the ground up. Describing herself as “constantly curious”, her next move was into tech PR, working at Houndstooth PR and Walker Sands Communications. She worked on a major tech conference that featured budding startups, including the founder of Girls Who Code. “It was a really exciting time in tech. I loved working with cool companies that were changing the game. I cut my teeth in PR by working in agencies.”
Wanting to create meaningful impact through communications, Kiara decided to return to the third sector. She says: “After working in agencies, I knew I had the confidence and skillset to go in-house. I asked myself, ‘how can I use my skillset in a way not only benefits my organisation, but also the wider community around me? How can I benefit the lives of others through my work?’”
She joined the not-for-profit United Way of Metro Chicago, which brings governments, charities and businesses together to strengthen neighbourhoods in Chicago with a history of disinvestment. At United Way, she was able to tell the story of people in her community, the impact of local community organisations and to contribute to corporate partnerships that could enable their charitable work. In her work, Kiara wants to focus on initiatives that are improving the lives of communities of colour, closing the gender pay gap and the income pay gap.
She chose the Business School (formerly Cass) for its affable culture, the diversity of its alumni and the fact many of her fellow students also come from nontraditional backgrounds. Studying during the Covid-19 pandemic, she admits: “There’s something to be said about how people come together in hard times. I’ve found in my cohort a really collaborative and supportive group of people.”
The programme has challenged her in the best possible way. She says: “when I am the most uncomfortable is when I’m growing the most. For example, the block with analytics, investment and economics was challenging but I learned so much and it was fascinating. The programme is also teaching me how to be a better leader.”
After graduating, Kiara wants a new challenge and to work for a social enterprise or for a business that has social impact as its ethos. She says: “as a Black woman, my long-term goal is to create more opportunities for young women who look like me.”