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Thunderbird for Good started with an idea in 2004 to provide learning opportunities for Afghan businesswomen hungry for knowledge. Today, our outreach has spread to include non-traditional students from emerging markets all over the world. As our menu of on-site and on-location programs has grown, so has our list of funding partners, mentors and faculty. We are bound together by a common belief that business education improves lives and provides a path to prosperity and peace. Thunderbird School of Global Management was founded in 1946 on this vision. “Borders frequented by trade seldom need soldiers,” said William Schurz, one of the school’s early leaders. Thunderbird for Good supports this core value by bringing the school’s expertise to aspiring businessmen and women who otherwise would not have classroom access.
"We’ve got social entrepreneurs like … Andeisha Farid, an extraordinary woman from Afghanistan, who’s taken great risks to educate the next generation, one girl at a time."
–U.S. President Barack Obama
Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, April 26, 2010, in Washington, D.C., honoring Andeisha Farid, a 2009 participant in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Afghanistan program. Farid also has worked as a 10,000 Women mentor and mentor trainer.
Starting and growing a company takes courage anywhere. But the challenges are multiplied for men and women at the base of the pyramid in emerging markets such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Peru and Indonesia. Aspiring entrepreneurs in these countries have passion and tenacity, but they often lack knowledge to write business plans, manage cash flow and market their enterprises. Business schools teach these skills, but the cost of a graduate business education excludes many trapped in cycles of poverty. Thunderbird for Good works to tear down these barriers through management education programs that support nontraditional students on campus and abroad in the places where they live and work. Graduates of our programs create jobs, share knowledge and improve living conditions in their communities.
More than 30,000 participants have attended Thunderbird for Good programs at our campus in Glendale, Arizona, and in the communities where they live and work all over the world. Rangina Hamida, a 2005 participant in the inaugural Project Artemis Afghanistan, says the knowledge shared in our programs reaches many others outside the classroom as participants work to strengthen their businesses, their families and their communities. “If you add it all together exponentially, we are making a difference,” Hamida says. “It only takes a few strong and courageous women to make a big change.”
We invite you to join us as a donor, mentor, student or partner.
"What is Thunderbird for Good?"
That was Kellie Kreiser ’04's first question in 2005 when Thunderbird President Emeritus Ángel Cabrera offered her a job as director of the new initiative.
“That’s your first assignment,” Cabrera told the recent Thunderbird graduate. “Figure it out.”
Cabrera gave just three guidelines:
“Don’t do hospital drives, don’t build bridges, don’t do food drives and don’t do marathons,” he told her. “All of those things are good, but that is not our core. We need to stick with what we do best.”
As Kreiser explored the possibilities, she leaned upon the early success of Project Artemis, a crash course in business for aspiring women entrepreneurs from Afghanistan. Former Thunderbird Trustee Barbara Barrett, who later served as U.S. Ambassador to Finland and Thunderbird's interim president, conceived of Project Artemis while touring Afghanistan in 2004 as a member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council.
“She came back to Thunderbird with this idea of creating a program to help Afghan businesswomen get the skills they need to be successful,” Kreiser says. Thunderbird Professors Steven Stralser, Mary Sully de Luque and others stepped forward to raise funds, design curriculum and recruit mentors. The school welcomed its first group of 15 Afghan businesswomen to campus in January 2005.
“We realized what a profound impact Project Artemis had—not only on the women, but also on us here at Thunderbird,” says Kreiser, who served as an Artemis volunteer. “Our entire community was so excited to be able to help these women, and that started the discussions around what we should do next.”
Under Kreiser’s leadership, the school moved Project Artemis under the banner of Thunderbird for Good, which then expanded to include initiatives in Jordan, Peru, Pakistan and beyond.
Thunderbird for Good partners include our mentors, sponsors and volunteers all over the world. We also develop key partnerships with business, government and nonprofit organizations. These partners include:
Kellie Kreiser '04
Cindy Yeager '08
Wynona Heim '08
Katherine Zuga '04
Katherine Zuga manages the North American DreamBuilder program, an online business training program, and Project DreamCatcher, an on-campus program for Native American women entrepreneurs. She is a 2004 Thunderbird graduate and has a Bachelor of Science in International Studies from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
Pamela Strowman supports the Thunderbird for Good office. She has an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Secretarial from Bay State Junior College of Business in Boston, Massachusetts.
"Every minute at Thunderbird taught me something new. I wish to pass on this knowledge to other women so they can benefit from it just as much as I did."
2011 Project Artemis Pakistan fellow and owner of 360M in Karachi