July 2021 Alumni Spotlight
In this Marxe alumni spotlight we talk to Marxe MPA graduate and Diversity Programs Compliance Coordinator at Modern Times, Inc., Ryan Young. He tells us about his interests, career, and importance of diversity.
Can you talk a bit about your experience at the Marxe School? How did you pursue a career that intersects with your interests?
I learned why the Marxe School is so high on the Return on Investment list! Coming in, I valued the opportunity to learn from professors who’d had years of successful experience working in the public and private sectors. I mean, how often do you get to learn the finer points of program financial budgeting from a recent NYC Comptroller? Through in-class discussions and guided research from an assortment of great teachers, I felt intellectually stimulated and empowered to chart my own path.
Just like everyone else, I have a wide array of interests which could turn into a career. The Marxe School helped by providing the foundational tools needed to develop more-informed opinions within those interests and a confidence to go forward on my career path.
What got you interested in diversity? Was that a driving factor in choosing the Marxe School for your MPA?
I grew up hearing the term and concept fairly frequently. My mother had her own workplace diversity practice for a number of years. But even before then, I was made aware of the tendency for tactical exclusion against African Americans by many of America’s structural institutions, be it business, real estate, financial or legal. I set out to pursue more understanding and know-how pertaining to inclusive community development through economic development.
Enrolling in the Marxe School came not too long after moving from Jackson, Mississippi. I grew up in various parts of the south, including: Jackson, Atlanta, GA and Tallahassee, FL. There, diversity was often tented in historical American Black/White dynamics. Though that is still very much a “thing” here, New York forced me to consider diversity in a broader context and ultimately gave me more perspective in the areas of diversity I really wanted to focus on.
The same can be said about Baruch and the Marxe School. My classmates had many different backgrounds in terms of heritage as well as their career and social interests. That diversity of thought challenged my preconceived notions while encouraging a greater ability to consider various vantage points before making judgements on next steps.
Tell us about your role as Diversity Compliance Coordinator. How do you approach your goals with respect to the overarching goals of your employer, Modern Times, Inc.?
Our firm’s role is largely to empower clients, who are often multinational construction companies, towards surpassing any public or privately set diversity participation goals on projects. As a Diversity Compliance Coordinator, I have the same goal as my firm. I want to develop solutions, tools and practices that facilitate a successful effort in integrating small businesses from groups of people that have traditionally been excluded from this type of work. In this role I have the opportunity to learn some of the most productive methods of helping diverse small business owners get their foot in the door to a thriving industry that only stands to grow in the coming years.