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  • Writer's pictureAlli Myatt

Day 19 - 28 Love Letters to Black Women

This Black History Month, I am sharing 28 stories of Black women who shaped me and showed me the way towards liberation. Because Black women are often not cited for their ideas, I thought this would be one way to give flowers to those who influenced me.

On Day 19, I would like to honor Denyse Goliathe. Denyse’s support is probably one of the main reasons I was able to get into business school and change my career trajectory.

In my late twenties, the organization I was working for was going through a strategic planning process. Our CEO, Mark Pinsky, was really transparent about the planning process and what the board was discussing and deciding along the way. I remember being truly FASCINATED by the conversations and questions being explored. Like Aaron Burr in Hamilton the Musical, I wanted to be in the room where it happens and didn't have the skills yet to do that, so I decided to go back to business school.

I was a nontraditional business school applicant - I worked for a nonprofit and wanted to continue in the sector afterwards. I also didn’t have a big network of folks who I knew who had been to business school to tell me how to apply and get in. I turned to the library to help me learn about the process and study for the GMAT. I wasn’t making a lot of money, so I couldn’t afford the business school prep programs. I wanted to go to a top school, because like most Black folks paying for school, I knew I needed to get a J-O-B afterwards, and I believed my best shot at getting a good job was to go to a top school. One of those top schools was Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia.

Because I lived in Philly at the time, I was able to go to visit the school campus. Once I visited campus, met current students and sat in on a few courses, I knew Wharton was the place for me. On my way out of the school that day, I stopped by the MBA cafe. A group of Black students were in the lounge area studying. Denyse was one of those students. She came up to me and introduced herself. After chatting for a bit, she asked me if anyone was giving me feedback on my essays. I said no. She insisted that I send her my essay so she could give me feedback. I did, and y’all, Denyse got my essay all the way together. We went through MULTIPLE rounds of feedback until Denyse thought it was ready. Her feedback helped me to better understand what admission teams were looking for. I applied her feedback to my other essays. I got into Wharton that year and every other school I applied to after Denyse’s feedback. I am convinced that I would not have gotten into school without Denyse’s help. I remember being so struck by how Denyse grabbed me and made sure I was good. She asked for nothing in return. It was a true example of paying forward support and practicing abundant care.

Thank you, Denyse, for practicing abundant care with me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. #28LoveLetterstoBlackWomen #BlackHistoryMonth2023 #Day19

Image Description: Headshot of Denyse. She is wearing a pink top with lace on it.

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