Madison Cole, a junior International Business (IB) honors student at the Fox School, emphasizes how both confidence and self-advocacy are integral to her success. Cole attributes her growth as a student and professional to the leadership roles she’s pursued on campus. She has also laid the foundation for Black students to find a voice and feel a sense of community as president of the Fox African American Business Association (FAABA).
Cole’s leadership roles are not limited to the Fox School. For the 2020-21 academic year, she served as the co-director of university events on Temple’s Main Campus Program Board (MSPB). Through her time serving on the board, she assisted with bringing in speakers like Yara Shahidi, leading actress on the TV-show “Grownish”, and Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement.
“My main job was to plan large scale events like homecoming, concerts and speaker series. This involved creating event timelines, marketing plans and communicating with outside vendors, and the rest of the executive board,” says Cole.
She emphasized that her classes and experiences in the Fox School have helped guide the work she has done in this role.
“The Fox School has taught me development and how to communicate professionally. This includes how to step away from your own inherent biases, properly write emails to bring companies, public speaking in front of large crowds, and working with a community as a whole,” says Cole.
Being on the MCPB and planning the small details that go into the big picture of events inspired Cole to pick a concentration in her business major. However, her time in classes has not always been the easiest, due to attending a more diverse school prior to the Fox School.
“After going to a predominantly Black high school, attending honors classes in the Fox School was one of my first experiences being the only Black person in the room,” says Cole. “I often got in my own head, thinking I did not belong or was intimidated sitting in a room where no one looked like me.”
In a business communications class taught by Katie Gerst, associate professor of practice in Marketing and Supply Chain Management (MSCM), the students were assigned a project where they needed to pitch a proposal. Cole’s experiences in Fox Honors led her to work on a proposal to start a Student Professional Organization (SPO) for Black women. Gerst liked Cole’s proposal, but knew of an SPO similar to her vision: FAABA. Gerst helped introduce Cole to the organization.
“A week later, Madison came into class and thanked me for leading her in that direction. She ended up enjoying the fact that it had been for Black students and not just geared towards Black women,” says Gerst. “I could tell Madison felt more comfortable and confident in my class after I showed her support and encouragement. Her motivation and public speaking skills will take her a lot of places in business.”
After joining FAABA and taking on a leadership role, Cole feels that she and other Black students have a safe place to talk about their experiences.
“FAABA is a space for Black students to grow as individuals and to network within their community,” says Cole “By being Black, we will have different experiences in the corporate business world than our white counterparts. I am happy that I can help provide a community environment for students that look like one another.”
You can stay updated on FAABA’s events and upcoming meetings on their Instagram page.