Kourtney Thompson is on the path from student leader to business leader.
This week, Thompson, a Harrisburg native, will graduate from the Fox School of Business with a Master’s in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (IME). Since coming to Temple in 2015 as an undergraduate at the Klein College of Media and Communication, Thompson has shown her ability to be the leader of tomorrow’s workforce.
Thompson found a passion for innovative management in her IME program. “I’ve learned a lot of soft skills, like how to talk to people from across the aisle and from different cultures,” says Thompson. “With the IME program, I found innovative ways to lead people, especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion initiatives.”
As Thompson reflects on how the program taught her about the ways people want to be managed, she found it to be especially true in the digital workplace. “In my classes, we talked a lot about the impact of COVID. I was able to take some of those tactics of trying to make people feel more engaged in their work,” she says.
Her commitment to inclusive management goes beyond her classwork. As a marketing extern for Temple’s Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership (IDEAL), Thompson works with undergraduate students to promote efforts like Cultural Unity Week.
“At IDEAL, I work with undergraduate social media and marketing interns to promote our different educational workshops, programs and events,” says Thompson. “From Lavender Graduation, which celebrates LGBTQ+ graduates, to Rite of Passage, which supports Afro identities, a lot of my work is centered around culture and identity.”
As an undergraduate student, Thompson served in the executive board of Temple’s Black Student Union. She organized community service and philanthropic activities for students across campus to benefit Temples surrounding neighborhoods.
Thompson also achieved success in the 2019 Social Entrepreneurship Summit. Her proposal for a mental health museum, where visitors could come learn about mental wellness in a hands-on way, took first place in the upper track of the competition. Alan Kerzner, assistant professor of strategic management, taught Thompson in his course Lean Startup. “Kourtney took her learning from my class and other IEI classes to enter the Social Entrepreneurship competition,” says Kerzner. “She continues to focus on enhancing the emotional well-being of individuals in under-resourced communities.”
After graduating from the Fox School, Thompson says she is looking for jobs in the field of project management, but her long-term goal would be to work for herself. She has also been working as a freelancer in branding, marketing and graphic design.
Having started her journey at Temple in 2015, Thompson recognizes the changes she sees within herself. “Temple has been a very big part of my growth—not just as a professional, but as a person. I have learned a lot about myself while being in school, living in Philly and going through young adulthood. I have blossomed into the person I am today. I am really appreciative that I had the opportunity to graduate from Temple not only once, but twice.”