Alum feature: Meet Amanda Park

Program: MBA

Graduation Year: 2017

Program Schedule: Part-Time

Please briefly describe your career path and what led you to The School of Business.

After I received my undergrad (also from PSU), I joined the Peace Corps and went to Namibia as a Community Economic Development volunteer. I focused on supporting micro-entrepreneurs gain the skills and resources to grow their small business into an asset that could provide wealth.

Growing up, my family was supported by my father’s small business. As an immigrant from South Korea, he came to the U.S. with the very little, working for room and board at a dairy farm. On his days off from the farm he would take side jobs mowing lawns and doing basic yard maintenance. He eventually grew his side job into a full-time business, and nearly forty years later, is operating a very successful landscaping company.

It wasn’t a stretch for me to see that business ownership can be a wealth-building opportunity for folks who are traditionally disenfranchised from pathways that offer financial security. The Portland MBA provided me an opportunity to deepen my understanding of management and business principles that would in turn help me to think strategically about equitable and inclusive entrepreneurship and economic development.

What drew you to The Portland MBA, in particular?

The Portland MBA is practical and realistic. The part-time program allowed me to take classes while continuing my day job. I loved that I could apply what I was learning at work and also network with other professionals in the Portland area.

What skills have you found most valuable in your career?

The Portland MBA provided me with leadership skills that I use every day. As a civil servant and project manager, working with multiple stakeholders and managing teams is a large part of my job.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the opportunity to challenge the status quo and help to build a more inclusive and equitable city.

What advice do you have for current or prospective graduate business students who are interested in your field?

Lean in to the experience. The program is a great place to step outside of your comfort zone and try new roles.

What does “redefining business” mean to you?

Redefining business means a lot to me. I see a future where business is willingly accountable to stakeholders beyond just shareholders. Success is measured holistically, including the planet and people — not just profit.

My People’s Market has grown immensely over the last few years. What kinds of successes have contributed to the growth in vendors and customers?

My People’s Market is built on collaboration with support from Prosper Portland, Travel Portland, YGB Portland (Young Gift Black and Brown) and numerous other community organizations along the way. The collaborative nature of the event allows us to keep each market fresh and exciting for the shoppers.

The coronavirus pandemic has shifted the initial plans for the 2020 My People’s Market events. As a leader in the organization, what are your strategies for staying nimble and adapting to changing needs?

We focused on two priorities for the event during the pandemic: community safety and supporting the businesses. We looked to other marketplaces and pulled a list of best practices together.

What can we look forward to from My People’s Market in the future?

We have some exciting new ways to experience My people’s Market all holiday season long. Pack up the family and pick up your My People’s Market goodies and gifts at a My People’s Market Drive Thru, see some of your favorite performers live on Instagram, and connect with My People’s Market makers, crafters, and culinary wizards on My People’s Market online marketplace. Be sure to follow @MyPeoplesMarket on Instagram to up to date on the latest My People’s Market news and events.

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