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Alumna Sareeta Spriggs (MBA, LSSG) is a woman with a vision. Passionate about empowering youth and women, Sareeta focuses her talents on helping to teach and transform her community. Here’s how her degree from Strayer is helping her on her mission.
Sareeta was community minded from an early age. While her parents didn’t have college degrees or a lot of money, they did provide Sareeta exposure to people, events, panels, and other community engagements throughout her youth. Following in her parents’ footsteps, she quickly became an active voice in the community and eventually, a local student leader.
In college, Sareeta continued being involved with local groups and initiatives. She was active in Student Government, chaired the Management Information Systems Club and was a member of the National Urban League Black Executive Exchange (BEEP) Program. These organizations taught Sareeta a lot about community organizing—and gave her a love for service.
When Sareeta graduated with her bachelor’s in Biology and Management Information Systems, the economic outlook was bleak. After college Sareeta had a few different jobs, eventually finding herself in the private sector working as an IT analyst. Sareeta knew she wanted more and the job market was slow so, she decided to go back to school.
Sareeta looked at several options for graduate school. Strayer attracted her for a few reasons: small class sizes, affordable tuition, flexible classes and great professors. What swayed her to a final decision? She decided to go to a Strayer Open House night. “It was totally amazing,” Sareeta described. “It felt warm. I felt welcomed. I knew this was the place for me.” So, she enrolled in an MBA program and began attending classes during the evenings—while working full-time during the day. It wasn’t easy—especially when her father fell terminally ill. At one point, Sareeta contemplated giving it all up and finishing her degree in a year or two. But one of Sareeta’s mentors at Strayer helped change her mind.
Dr. Wendy Howard, Sareeta’s graduate school advisor, gave Sareeta some advice she’d never forget: If you stop anytime life gets hard, you’re never going to get anywhere. Sareeta took the words to heart. She completed her degree, taking an active role in a variety of clubs and organizations while doing so, and graduated on time.
“I will never forget what Dr. Howard told me that day,” Sareeta says, “It inspired me. Now it’s my mantra. I have it written everywhere.”
Sareeta continued with her service and went on to find success in a variety of roles. Noticed for her community work, Sareeta was elected Vice President of the Urban League of Hampton Roads Young Professionals, was named one of the Top 40 under 40 by the Hampton Roads Inside Business Journal, and was later accepted as a fellow into the Capital City Fellows Program. Of the fierce competition for the Fellows program, Sareeta credits her experience at Strayer for giving her the confidence to continue with her application. “My bachelor’s degree helped me get my foot in the door,” she says, “my master’s degree helped me compete.”
The Capital City Fellows Program was a springboard for Sareeta’s career. It provided a pathway to public service and an opportunity of a lifetime to assist the D.C. Mayor’s Office in leading Serve DC, an initiative that aims to engage D.C. communities by providing partnerships and meaningful service opportunities.
Today, Sareeta oversees the financial side of Serve DC as the Deputy Director of Operations and Finance. Sareeta has found her happy medium. “It’s a joy to find a job that married my love for service and my passion for business,” she says.
Of course, Sareeta has kept up with community initiatives in her spare time. She volunteers extensively, has been the leader of several networking initiatives, has several books in the works, and is now the founder of an exciting new organization called Ladies LEAD. Ladies LEAD’s kickoff event, a working lunch, will take place in September. She couldn’t be more excited about the future.
Asked her advice for prospective students, Sareeta had some good advice. “Never forget your why. Use that why as your driving force. School is not easy. There will be some sacrifices, but at the end of the day, if the lack of a degree is stopping you from getting you to where you want to be, just go and get it done.”
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