2016 Best EMBAs: Cheryl R. Campbell, Georgetown University (McDonough)

 Cheryl Campbell GeorgetownCheryl R. Campbell

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business/ESADE School of Business

“On paper, Cheryl could have been accepted to any top-tier EMBA program in the country. She has ascended to the top of her current organization, has led global initiatives, testified in front of Congress, received impeccable recommendations, and was a good undergraduate student. Besides the typical attributes that led us to accept Cheryl to our program, we nominated her for her compassion for others, her humbleness despite her great achievements, her strong emotional intelligence and cross-cultural awareness. … She elevates and empowers those around her by caring and pushing them to grow.”


Age: 58

Location: Vienna, VA

Family Members:

Stanley V. Campbell Jr., husband of 27 years

Christopher Campbell

Alan Campbell

Stanley Campbell III

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Maryland-College Park, Bachelor of Science Degree

Where are you currently working? Currently, Senior Vice President, Global Government Head for CGI Inc., one of the largest independent information technology (IT) firms. Nationally recognized with over 30 years of experience in driving business growth, operations management, and strategic planning.

With three decades of executive management, IT, operations, and P&L expertise, we lead the Global Government industry vision, thought leadership, counsel and support for CGI’s top global government business, representing a roughly $4 billion public sector annual revenue across 40 countries. We drive and support the executive discussion and decision-making for strategy, growth, business priorities, and other initiatives to deliver value for government clients around the world.  I previously held both Federal Defense and Health & Compliance Business Unit(s) leader positions with CGI. I was recently named a 2015 Top IT Women Leader in Washington, D.C.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

Served as a trusted adviser to numerous United States cabinet-level members and recognized as a thought leader and innovator both within and outside of CGI Inc. Received numerous awards including the “Healthcare IT Game Changer” by ExecutiveBiz, and is a frequent speaker at a variety of associations and media outlets. Most recently recognized by FEDSCOOP as DC’s Top 50 Women in Technology, 2015:

  • European Union Innovation 2.0 Plenary Speaker, 2016
  • Appearances on the CBS D.C. affiliate, WUSA TV-9 Government Contracting Weekly
  • Women in Government Contracting
  • The Art of Winning
  • Appearance before the United States House of Representatives, Energy and Commerce Committee, October 2013
  • Appearance before the United States House of Representatives, Energy and Commerce Committee, Health Care Subcommittee, September 2013
  • National Medical Association (NMA), keynote speaker
  • National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), keynote speaker
  • Atlanta Business Journal Health Technology Awards, keynote speaker
  • The Aspen Institute – Title IX and Its Impact on Woman’s Health and Minority Population Health Disparities

Leadership extends to serving as the Board Chair for the American Heart Association Regional Board of Directors as well as a member of the Mid-Atlantic Board. In addition, I am slated as Board Chair for the American Red Cross, National Capital Region. Past community roles include: Chair of the Philanthropy Committee for the Paralyzed Veterans of America and Co-chair of the Virginia Health Information Technology of the Northern Virginia Technology Council.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? It was with honor and humble appreciation that I was voted Class Representative by the GEMBA 8 Cohort of 30 senior executives. This coveted group represents the most diverse set of individuals from 16 countries, speaking 28 languages, ranging from physicians, lawyers, military officers, financial/investment bankers, market strategists, business owners, foreign service officers, and corporate and academia professionals. After two weeks of class time, they entrusted me to represent their collective position and class leader.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? All career, family, and life roads traveled led me to the position of implementing the most comprehensive national health IT system – the Affordable Care Act: Navigating the national, political, financial, legal, and media complexities to implement a health IT system with an impact on 320 million Americans, including 20 million Americans uninsured and 40 million underinsured and counting. Building the first system deployed by any government where a person can sit from home and address five different agencies, including HHS, DHS, U.S. Treasury, VA, and SSA, clearing them all simultaneously with the ability to address over 15,000 insurance plans across 50 states and four territories privately and securely. It’s very humbling to know that you are quoted by the three branches of U.S. government and implementing a highly controversial legislative mandate, upheld by the Supreme Court.

Even though we had public disappointments in month one for lack of scaling and access, the Wright Brothers succeeded in flight on the third attempt and Alexander Graham Bell attempted 257 times before he found the right frequency. The core technological accomplishments now spurring the value proposition of unified communications in tele-health advances, in clinical trails through the empowerment and utilization of Electronic Health Records. A nation sitting on the edge of its chair with 4.5 hours of congressional testimony, and to have my youngest child say he watched the whole testimony and he was so proud. A moment to cherish. It was very humbling to have multiple polls run from the White House to the Hill name me the single most trusted person on the subject. No matter what side of the aisle, I am proud to have a nation to entrust something so critically important as the health and welfare of its people seek the leadership to work with the government to deliver the most comprehensive healthcare reform.

Who is your favorite professor? The Georgetown/ESADE professors each possess an intellectual command of the subject matter and bring practical business acumen and current in-depth understanding of the market and effectively position the executive leaders for the next level leadership positions. It is difficult to select one, but if I have to pick it would be the professor who was able to expand my knowledge most in the area I knew least. Being a global executive, it is imperative to assess the country you intend to do business with beyond the surface elements of culture nuisances and business drivers.

Professor James Raymond Vreeland taught Comparative Institutional Analysis: The Politics of International Finance, which addressed both domestic and international political institutions influence on international financial flows. My DNA markers are fortified with methodologies to understand the politics of international finance and informed approaches for engagement.

Favorite MBA Courses?

  • Integrative Course: Political Economy of International Business
  • Platforms of Corporate Finance
  • Global Operations and Supply Chain
  • Industry Economics
  • Structuring and Managing a Global Firm
  • Managing Human and Social Capital
  • Comparative Institutional Analysis
  • Entrepreneurship/Intrapreneurship

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? It was time to practice what I preach to my team/organization, aspiring executives, young adults, my children, and extended family.  “A rolling stone gathers no moss” — be innovative, creative and embrace change but most of all be authentic. Transitioning to a Global Executive role with CGI Inc., the GEMBA Program was the perfect recipe for global immersion to understanding key multinational markets. The program offered perspectives from three degree programs, Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Services, and ESADE Business School with a requisite dual degree. The six modules, including two-week immersions in leading global geographies, were a positive benefit.  The curriculum addressed the core elements for strengthening global business management, business strategy, international relations, policymaking, financial analysis, and entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship.

What did you enjoy most about business school? What I most enjoy about business school is the affirmation of enlightenment. Business school afforded me the opportunity to think openly, engage professorial and student peers, and gain the gift of exploration well beyond my comfort zone. History tells us that America was born during the Age of Enlightenment where artisans, thinkers, and philosophers exercised scientific and cultural intellect above royalties and superstitions. Our travels have taken us to experience first-hand these cultures which still today are challenged by Western thinking. And as we explore the science of global warming, international disparities in health, economics, lifestyles, sports and its impact on business, international trade, and the effects on different cultures and economies, business school has served as a trusted environment for open dialogue and a diversity of thought through individual and group relationships that has served to give birth to academic relationships and friendships for life — a band of brothers and sisters.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? The Georgetown/ESADE GEMBA degree program has been transformational. The biggest lesson I learned is, “Never stop learning.” As a senior executive, my years of practical experience are invaluable, but it is equally important to continue to hone your craft and recognize a broader set of leading industry-proven methodologies, go-to market strategies, and a 360-degree macroeconomic view of business and the world economy that are essential elements for business leaders seeking to operate or operating on a global business stage. Continue to invent, and invest in, yourself!

What was the most surprising thing about business school? The fact that I could learn as much outside the classroom as I could inside the classroom. I could learn as much from my peers as I could from my professors. I could teach from my own life experiences in a way that coincides with the curriculum of the program and we would all benefit from what each of us brought to the business school. Therein lies the foundation of a great program.

What was the hardest part of business school? The hardest part of business school happens to also be the most rewarding. By re-learning to be a student and building camaraderie with others doing the same, we made lifelong friendships that will surely extend beyond graduation. Transitioning from a work environment to a classroom setting was something that allowed me the opportunity to divorce myself from the day-to-day aspects of corporate operations and open my mind to new and different ideas, ideologies, methodologies, and cultures.

What is your best advice for juggling work, family and education? This is the same advice I give to single people, to working parents, to married couples. There is no time like the present. There is no perfect time for marriage, for having a family, for stretching to achieve the next level. You must go for it and you will end up in a better place.

As it pertains to work, you must teach and prepare subordinates, peers, and superiors to embrace the complementary issues associated with lifelong learning. You have to recruit your family as part of the process; your success is their success. You are not in business school alone. As a working mom, my sons had to make their own beds, sometimes get their own breakfast, but they understood they were part of the family’s success process. Education is a virtue; there is no time for status quo. And let us remember, the best jugglers make it to the big stage.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your executive MBA program? Have an open mind, be flexible, be humble, be engaging, and enjoy the journey.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…” It could have been when my husband was explaining Bayesian Believe Networks and Neural Computing at a dinner party or when I was briefing my senior vice presidents about lifelong learning, but it actually hit me when my youngest son was planning for graduate school. The race was on.”

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My husband, children, family, and friends for being patient with me, for giving me guidance, for helping me to not take myself too seriously, for helping me to see the big picture, and the maître d’ at the Georgetown University Faculty Club Restaurant for giving me a hug every day during Module 1 (first two weeks of the MBA program).

Favorite book: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Favorite movie: Blade Runner

Favorite musical performer: Anita Baker

Favorite television show:  How to Get Away with Murder

Favorite vacation spot: Malaga, Spain

Hobbies? Tennis, swimming, dancing, reading

What made Cheryl such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016:

“I know I have done my job in recruiting a great cohort of EMBA students when the academic director of the program congratulates me on the quality of the group vis-à-vis its interaction with faculty. Oftentimes, the quality of the cohort will be defined by one or two of its members. For this particular cohort, Cheryl Campbell stands above the rest. On paper, Cheryl could have been accepted to any top-tier EMBA program in the country. She has ascended to the top of her current organization, has led global initiatives, testified in front of Congress, received impeccable recommendations, and was a good undergraduate student. Beside the typical attributes that led us to accept Cheryl to our program, we nominated her for her compassion for others, her humbleness despite her great achievements, her strong emotional intelligence and cross-cultural awareness that steered her classmates to vote her as the class representative.

“Cheryl brings the cohort to an equilibrium even with strong and disparate personalities. She elevates and empowers those around her by caring and pushing them to grow. One of Georgetown’s Jesuit values is ‘cure personals,’ which translates to the care of the whole person. This implies that one should be attentive to individualized needs of others and try to help them realize their true potential. Cheryl exemplifies this value by empowering members of her cohort to elevate themselves to their true potential while giving back to the Georgetown community.”

Elie Farhat

Associate Dean for Admissions and Outreach  

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business


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