2019 Best EMBAs: Ellie Campion, Yale SOM

Ellie Campion

Yale School of Management

I am honest, tenacious, creative, considerate, intelligent, ambitious, methodical, meticulous, logical, patient, and empathetic.”

Age: 35

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Family Members:

Husband: Robert

Daughter: Cressida “Cece” (3)

Family dog: Oliver “Ollie”

We are expecting another baby girl in August of this year!

Fun fact about yourself:

I am a certified yoga instructor.

I can speak five languages to various degrees.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Southern California with a B.A. in Global Business

Where are you currently working? I am the founder and president of Mother Nurture Foundation, a nonprofit providing prenatal nutrition and education to underserved communities both domestically and around the world. I like thinking about how to solve big societal issues and learning about different cultures. I dislike wasted opportunities, whether it manifests as a child not being able to go to school due to preventable illnesses; parents not being able to go to work due to their child’s illnesses; or resources such as vitamins being inefficiently deployed. Mother Nurture allows me to yoke my passions together into one holistic venture.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: I spearheaded a raw case study initiative that helped produce 12 cases that required collaboration across multiple SOM programs and disciplines.

I also blogged for the school as well as the International Center for Finance at the Yale School of Management about distinguished guests.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I had the honor of building various case studies and a case study workshop for EMBA/MBA/MAM students with Professor William Goetzmann, who is the Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Management Studies and the Director of the International Center for Finance at the Yale School of Management. Will possesses a wealth of knowledge and has connections in diverse disciplines ranging from alternative assets to art. It was an absolute privilege to have him as a resource while researching areas of academic interest. I don’t know if I would have experienced the same level of involvement from a faculty director outside of Yale SOM.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am proud of leveraging my decade of experience on Wall Street to creatively prevent prenatal malnutrition, childhood malnutrition, and childhood blindness. Recently, Mother Nurture partnered with a nonprofit in a very remote region of Ghana. The community in Tarkwa Breman is doing everything within their means to design a brighter future for themselves. For one, they are using cocoa sharecropping revenues to educate their children and provide healthcare for their village. I love re-thinking the antiquated and paternalistic take on charity and working together to create efficient, virtuous cycles so that these communities can stand tall on their own in the near future. Currently, we are very excited about working with potential partners in Albania and Haiti and with two vitamin startups based in the US.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? The Executive course was an opportunity to use all the skills I acquired and sharpened in our core classes. I was presented with a new raw case study each class and had to decide which tools to use to come up with the best management solution. Doing this repeatedly got me used to thinking about management issues multi-dimensionally, but also made me more conscious of the uncertainty surrounding any potential solution.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? Yale School of Management’s mission to “Educate leaders for business and society” permeates every aspect of the program. It is truly unique and draws leaders who understand how interconnected the world is. This, in turn, fosters a collaborative atmosphere that is more conducive to innovation. I also appreciate having all the resources Yale has to offer to turn our next big idea into a reality.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I loved being inspired by smart, ambitious people determined to change the world every class weekend. I may not have felt invigorated physically, but I definitely felt recharged mentally and emotionally.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? I learned to be a better listener and to distinguish when to lead and when to let others take the reins. Many successful leaders think they have to have the answers all the time, but collaborative solutions usually have a better outcome.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? Right around the time I started business school, I read that law school energized Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be an engaged mother and being a mother gave her the stamina to excel at school. That really resonated with me. As a young mother enrolled in a rigorous program, I was worried I would be a drained mother, mediocre student, and unsuccessful nonprofit founder, but I found that having a daughter look up to me gave me more motivation than I ever had before.

I learned that balance doesn’t always mean an unchanging, even outlook. Life comes at you in waves and you try your best to ride the peaks and the valleys. You never know what you are capable of until you get a little uncomfortable and you learn from those uneasy moments.

I am truly thankful to my family and friends for creating a tremendous support system while I was pursuing my education. I couldn’t have accomplished what I did without them.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Remember to appreciate the people who are helping you accomplish your scholastic dreams behind the scenes throughout your program—not just at graduation.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. The research around having a growth mindset and neuroplasticity is inspiring. I was a little nervous about getting back into the swing of regularly studying in my 30s, but I found that I appreciated learning even more than when I was in my 20s. Applying what I learned in the classroom in the real world in real time was the best way to cement my newly acquired knowledge.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I don’t believe in regrets. It’s not always easy, but I like to find a lesson in each perceived misstep, have gratitude for the opportunity to learn, and channel that energy into a positive change.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? There are so many classmates I respect, but I am in awe of my team member Patricia Tobon’s emotional intelligence and heart. When she believes in something, she gives it everything she’s got.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I met the admissions team at Yale School of Management; they embodied the school’s values.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My goal is to become a leader who gives meaning to the work people do.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I worked hard to build a legacy of integrity, and my personal mantra is that anyone can be smarter than me, but being a dependable person is a choice I have the power to control.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

I would like to take my children along with me to serve and meet the communities Mother Nurture directly impacts. I hope to instill in them that we have a responsibility to act as global citizens.

I would also love to see Earth framed by the window of a spaceship!

Anything else you’d like to share? My classmates who visited Ghana for Global Network Week had a culturally immersive experience. One of my fellow students (Matt Sware) is involved with Cocoa360, a nonprofit “[facilitating] access to education and [improving] health care through cocoa farming revenue” in Tarkwa Breman, Ghana. He organized a trip to the remote village. After the trip, Matt and I were discussing our respective organizations and came to the realization that they shared an underlying theme: to provide education and better health care so that a community in need could become healthier, happier, and self-sufficient.

Together, we provided 34,020 doses of prenatal vitamins, 500 doses of vitamin A for children 6-11 months, 1,500 doses of vitamin a for children 12-59 months, and 2,000 doses of deworming medication to children under 5 years old. Working with Cocoa360 was a dream. They are a well-organized organization with the means to properly distribute and track the vitamins and medicine we provide. We hope to work with them again.

We secured our first corporate donation from SmartyPants Vitamins and nonprofit donation from Vitamin Angels late last year. Currently, we are looking into working with likeminded nonprofits in Albania and Haiti and two vitamin startups in the US.

What made Ellie such an invaluable addition to the class of 2019?

“Beginning in her first semester in the program in asset management, Ellie Campion saw an opportunity to organize her classmates’ participation in SOM’s unique raw case study development. From the moment she first volunteered for the MBA/EMBA team to develop the case on the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, her organizational skills were apparent. She saw the potential to use the cases to engage EMBA students in exciting current projects, to partner with MBA students, and to leave a lasting legacy on the SOM curriculum.

Ellie immediately took the lead in structuring the independent case study experience for a cadre of her classmates. Together with the SOM case team, they created a marvelous set of teaching cases—the most recent of which explores the Nathan Cummings Foundation’s transition into full impact investing. Working with Ellie I came to appreciate her initiative, insight, energy, good cheer and extraordinary people skills.

Ellie Campion embodies the SOM mission, and the high aspirations we had when we launched the EMBA in asset management. She has a global focus, a record of remarkable accomplishment in the financial world, and an entrepreneurial vision that led her to create the Mother Nurture Foundation. It has been a profound pleasure to work with Ellie Campion. I can’t wait to see what she has planned for her new enterprise.”

William N. Goetzmann

Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Management Studies

Faculty Director, International Center for Finance

Yale School of Management


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