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Meet a Cardinal: Iesha Copeland

"Iesha Copeland, business strategist and change agent.”

This is the printed phrase that Iesha sees on her business card in 2018 as she is close to graduating with a Master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from SVSU. Having previous experience as a business owner, as well as experience with leadership planning, SVSU’s MBA program was a great fit for her because there are so many opportunities for hands-on learning and research.

Iesha has a passion for creating new strategies that make an impact for the greater good. Coming out of undergraduate school with a bachelor’s degree in public administration, Copeland came to SVSU while working full time and pursuing her MBA.

“The guidance I’ve received from professors is invaluable," she explained. "They have shared lessons from their own real-world experiences that have helped me gain a new perspective on business solutions. This allowed me to take what I have learned and put my own personal touch on my project solutions. SVSU has been a good investment for me.”

Copeland most recently finished doing research with Joseph Ofori-Dankwa, SVSU’s Harvey Randell Wickes Chair in International Studies on the topic of social entrepreneurship. “We focused on the topic of advancement in David R. Gamez Community Health Centersociety with David Gamez and his role with developing the Community Health Center - Health Delivery Inc," she said. Gamez retired as president and CEO of the Health Center.

”This is a center that provides medical assistance to all income levels. Everything David did with Health Delivery was as a service to the community," Copeland said. She explained that Gomez’s entrepreneurism is an example of her research about how small business owners often put forth their passion as the front of their business plan as well as caring for the greater good of the community as a whole.

“What I did find is that a lot of mid-level, and even larger companies, are starting to adopt practices of better values and how to contribute to society,” she said. “Big companies are creating a social platform for employees. The social venture focuses less on high profit and more on the needs of others. This equals happier customers and employees.”

In her last semester at SVSU, Copeland is driving forward with yet another research project and social-based independent study with Dr. Izabela Szymanska, assistant professor of management at SVSU. “We are going to be focusing on corporate entrepreneurship,” Copeland said. “The goal is the help me create a module or training to present to companies to introduce creativity and innovation into the workplace. The idea came from an assignment we had to do in class. It was a case study based on the Mars Corporation. An employee had an idea to do more personalized products and print messages on M&Ms. The assignment intrigued me and now I want to dive deeper into corporate entrepreneurship. The idea helps to retain employees and customers because the brand is more creative and the employees are more invested in the outcomes. With my independent study, we are looking at developing a presentation module for local corporations to use and follow.”

“When I graduate, I would like to train both large and small companies to implement processes that will help them not only run a better business model, but allow them to have stronger relationships with their employees and customers.”