麻豆代天府MBA student leveraging degree work for a cause

KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 5, 2024

Tracey Graves
At her core, Tracey Graves says there is always one thing guiding her endeavors: service.

From a young age, the 麻豆代天府 student had the importance of serving instilled in her, first by her family, and later by the personal feeling of purpose driving her life.

鈥淎fter every holiday growing up, my aunt would have us make sandwiches, we鈥檇 buy a case of water, and take them out to homeless people in my hometown,鈥 said Graves, who is pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. 鈥淚 think that鈥檚 where it all started, and that鈥檚 one thing we鈥檒l all be doing forever, whether we鈥檙e serving ourselves, our families, our God, our community or the Earth, we鈥檙e all in service to something.鈥

Since then, Graves has volunteered to help underprivileged children in Los Angeles while working as an actor, traveled to Zambia with the Peace Corps, and now sits on a nonprofit board there helping to pay girls鈥 way through school. She recently formed a nonprofit organization with her sister, the Josephine Wright Foundation, in memory of their grandmother.

The late Josephine Wright challenged developers in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, to keep her land passed down through generations, after she was sued for an alleged encroachment of her home on developer-owned land. Wright鈥檚 fight made and attracted more than $350,000 in donations to the cause, including from celebrities like Tyler Perry, Snoop Dogg and NBA star Kyrie Irving. Under Graves鈥 guidance, the Josephine Wright Foundation aims to help others in the low country who may not have the means to fight a legal battle keep their land.

To better serve the community and deepen her knowledge of the business of entertainment, Graves chose to pursue a graduate degree at Kennesaw State.

鈥淎n MBA from KSU is going to help me understand how to structure my work and business so that it makes the most impact,鈥 Graves said. 鈥淚t鈥檚 clear in just my first semester that KSU was the right place to do that.鈥

Graves has continued her service in her coursework. She works as a graduate assistant with the Aspiring Community Entrepreneurs (ACE) program, a partnership between KSU鈥檚 Michael J. Coles College of Business and Marietta-based . The ACE program seeks to help disadvantaged metro Atlanta residents launch and grow their own businesses.

Mark Hiatt, director of the ACE program, said Graves鈥 heart for helping others is evident.

鈥淚n everything that she's been a part of in the program - from coordinating guest speakers in the bootcamp phase, to assembling the cadre of business mentors for the second phase, to guiding and coaching KSU students during the final consulting phase - her devotion to seeing our ACE students succeed in their personal endeavors is unmatched,鈥 Hiatt said. 鈥淭racey is a person of strong intellect, a seemingly unlimited level of energy and a very genuine character. She's truly a fun person to work with and a person who is bound to make a difference in this world.鈥

鈥 By Thomas Hartwell

Photos by Matt Yung

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, 麻豆代天府 offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. 麻豆代天府is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. 麻豆代天府is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.