My name is Catherine Ternes, and I’m a Senior Project Manager in Boston, MA. I got my undergraduate degree in International Affairs and Political Science with a minor in Spanish from Northeastern University. I have also completed additional professional certifications and courses in humanitarian response, marketing, innovative design, and strategic leadership.
What drew you to the Global Business Administration program?
I was looking for a program that would offer me the chance to broaden my skillset as I move from middle management to leadership positions within my professional career. I knew I wanted an MBA degree and was searching for a place where my experience in the international nonprofit sector would be valued.
What is one course that you have taken thus far in the GBA program that has been instrumental in helping you to achieve your current professional goals?
I just completed my second term, during which I took International Strategy and Innovation with Professor Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi. My organization had already been through several revisions to our strategic plan. I was immediately able to refer to the case studies we had discussed and use some of the frameworks learned to help organize our thinking and communicate my team’s needs effectively to the rest of the organization. It was incredible to see the immediate applicability of the course teachings and have such a diverse set of perspectives upon which to reflect with my colleagues.
Is there a topic that you have learned about at Fletcher that has particularly resonated with you?
During Corporate Finance, I had an interesting discussion with Professor Pat Schena about currency valuations and fluctuations. My mother’s family is Lebanese, and unfortunately my attendance in the course coincided with a rapid devaluation of the Lebanese lira. Professor Schena recommended some outstanding case studies and books which were not only interesting, but incredibly informative and helpful as I saw the real-time effects of currencies across international and domestic markets.
Tell us about your fellow GBA students. What are one or two things that you have been able to learn from them during your time together?
It is incredible to see how quickly you can build camaraderie and friendships across a virtual platform when you are not in the same location (and in many instances, not in the same time zone!). I continue to be amazed by how much we have in common, despite coming from a wide range of personal and professional backgrounds. One of the most important patterns I have noticed is that my classmates are always the superstars in their organizations. There is so much for me to learn from them!
Do you have a quote that has been helpful along your professional journey?
“Life’s most urgent and persistent question is, what are you doing for others?” is a quote from the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It resonates with me as I strive to always be conscientious of the power and privilege I hold in any situation. This quote is a reminder that people and organizations in positions of power have a responsibility to lift others and to amplify the voices and perspectives of those to whom we do not listen. It is the reason that I have always worked with non-profits, have found so much joy in health care, and why I feel so passionately about improving the lives of immigrants and refugees. It has served and will continue to serve as my internal moral compass to ensure I am spending my time, skills, and energy in a valuable way.