Whitman Continues Commitment to DE&I, Student Leadership Program

Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management continues its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion with programs such as the Inclusion Student Leadership Internship. This program fosters a positive change not only in the Orange network but in the local Syracuse community.

Students in the Inclusion Leadership Internship Program are leading this movement through programs they create and spearhead individually. This is the second year that the Whitman School has implemented this internship program, and its success has been imperative to the school’s diversity efforts.

Led by Diane Crawford, executive director of institutional culture, the program includes four inclusion student leaders: Grismeldys Beato ’23 (WHIT/iSchool), Jared Byrd ’23, Samuel Katzman ’24 (WHIT/NEW) and Ze Zeng ’22. 

Future Leaders Program 

The Future Leaders Program is an initiative to help underserved youth in the Syracuse community develop goals for the future and prepare them for college or careers. It is a seven-month program, and students range from 8th to 12th grade. Student leaders Beato and Byrd are in charge of developing and leading this initiative. 

Beato, a triple major in entrepreneurship & emerging enterprises and retail management at Whitman and information management and technology at the School of Information Studies, says that her interest in this program stemmed from her own experience applying to college. She had a mentor who encouraged her throughout the process. So, Beato hopes to be a role model to the students she is working with, leading them to think about where they want to be after high school. She says she’s already seen how the program has impacted the students.

“The students have a lot more maturity. The first day they came in, there was a lot of goofing around, but, as we went on with the program, they saw how serious it was. Seeing them grow and become more mature with what their goals are is impressive,” Beato says.

Byrd, a finance major, led Future Leaders sessions earlier this year. He says that increasing diversity in business, along with working with other students who have a similar drive for success, is his favorite part of being involved with this program. 

“I have been blessed with many opportunities and people who have guided me along my young career, and I think it’s important that I pay it forward and contribute to similar initiatives for something thats impact is much bigger than myself,” Byrd says.

Build Back Local Program

The Build Back Local Program is an initiative to help consult woman-owned and minority-owned businesses in Syracuse. Students involved apply the business skills they learn in the classroom and apply them to create real-life solutions for local businesses. Student leader Katzman worked on several tasks for this initiative ranging from researching governmental grants for female-owned contractors to planning an email marketing campaign. 

Katzman, who is a dual major in accounting at the Whitman School and advertising at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, says he is currently working with Whitman’s Office of Institutional Culture in hopes of growing the Build Back Local Program and, post-graduation, intends to continue working with women and minority-owned businesses. 

“I think it is extremely important to promote diverse business representation, and I hope to foster equity in the business environment,” he says.

NAACP Business Exhibition Initiative 

Syracuse University’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter has partnered with the Whitman School and Syracuse University’s Blackstone LaunchPad to bring awareness to minority-owned businesses in the Syracuse area and student-run organizations. This exhibition gives the businesses and organizations involved a platform where students can interact with minority-owned businesses. Zeng, student leader, is in charge of promoting and reaching out to businesses for this event. 

A double major in business analytics and finance, Zeng says that working on this initiative resonates with him personally. As both an international student and someone who runs a business, he says that he understands the struggles of being a minority business owner. 

“We need this platform to increase our relationship with others and for others to know about us. This is what we are trying to do with Whitman. We want to increase opportunities for minority and marginalized groups in this country,” he says.

Learn more about the Whitman School of Management’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives here.  

Rylee Pohancsek