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Ahniyah-Hiwot Kebede '15

Pursuing a Sustainable Business Model

Ahniyah-Hiwot Kebede ’15 might only be a sophomore, but she has already done quite a bit of traveling. Born and raised in Ethiopia until the age of thirteen, she moved with her family to the Philippines to attend high school. Since her youth, she has been consistently on the move, exploring and interacting with different environments.

Ahniyah found out about Green Mountain College through a recommendation from her high school counselor. She was originally interested in becoming a biologist, so her counselor suggested that she pursue an environmental liberal arts degree. Through online research she quickly realized that Green Mountain College was the place for her, especially given her interest in community service.

Once enrolled at Green Mountain College Ahniyah decided that she would prefer to major in business rather than biology. Her shift to business was based on a self-analysis. “I found out the challenges and the risk opportunity that comes with business, which later became a motivational goal,” she said. “I really like marketing because the thought process of trying to think and act creatively is really challenging.”

She is currently pursuing a major in sustainable business with a minor in entrepreneurship. While the decision to pursue business is recent, her desire to support sustainable business practices has been growing steadily since childhood.

Living in different environments provided Ahniyah with a basic understanding of environmental problems inherent in contemporary business practices.

She explained, “I guess living in the Philippines has showed me that the global problems don’t just occur in modern and polluted cities, but also in forested areas. The place where I lived, Subic Bay, is a rain forest area, but everyday I saw all the species and trees in danger, which led me to start a recycling club in my neighborhood.”

Her life experiences have served as sort of a catalyst for choosing her short-term and long-term future career goals. After graduation she intends to use her degree to pursue a career as an international marketing manager. Eventually she wants to extend her efforts towards social change.

“My long-term goal,” Ahniyah adds, “is to have NGO organization helping young mothers and children to pursue their goals in developing countries. Traveling through Africa, the Middle East, and Asia with my mother has given me a rare opportunity to witness such human atrocities as extreme poverty, famine, deforestation, cruelty to women, animals, and the environment.”

While she is attending GMC Ahniyah plans to remain involved in campus activities. This year she has been quite busy so far, working behind the scenes at the College Coffeehouse as the advertising manager and coordinating the freshman orientation. She describes the process of organizing the orientation as the “best and most experiential thing” she has done. If past experience is any indicator, however, Ahniyah will not be able to say this for long—she has a lot left to do!

By Laura Huley ‘12

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