EMBA Outstanding Scholar Will Remember the Relationships

Kirsten Miles named Outstanding Student at 19th Lessons in Leadership

KENNESAW, Ga. (Mar 22, 2019) — As Kirsten Miles prepares to graduate from the Executive MBA program this spring, she is grateful for the relationships she has built within her cohort, and how those relationships have prepared her to be a better leader.

Miles, who works for Bank of America as a senior vice president and a manager in the Financial Center Compliance Division, is the 2019 EMBA program’s Outstanding Scholar. She received the honor at the 19th annual Lessons in Leadership event, hosted by the Michael J. Coles College of Business at the Cobb Energy Center.

Kirsten Miles, EMBA Outstanding Scholar

“It’s an honor to be chosen because I’m in a class with so many distinguished people,” Miles said. “It’s such an amazing class and I have an amazing team.”

To become Outstanding Scholar, a student must have a perfect academic record, have notable accomplishments inside and outside the program, and must be a proven leader.

Miles has undergraduate degrees in elementary education and business administration, is a member of the Delta Mu Delta business academic honor society, and is an active member of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which supports breast cancer research and awareness efforts. She also participates in Bank of America’s employee engagement and inclusion council.

While in the EMBA program, Miles took the opportunity to combine her passion for community service with her commitment to business excellence. She worked with fellow classmates on a project to help create employment opportunities for low-income workers.

"She stepped up to solicit and organize over 20 classmates to serve as mentors in the Year Up program, which is an organization that helps individuals advance from minimum wage to a meaningful careers in one year," said Dr. Alison Keefe, Executive Director of the EMBA program. "She thus produced the largest cadre ever of mentors for the Year Up organization."

Miles says that working with the other students in her cohort has been one of the most rewarding parts of the EMBA experience.

“It’s great how the EMBA program positions people with different strengths and personalities together because it creates an environment where you can test yourself on how to manage good conflict,” she says. “The program’s dedication to creating great teams was so beneficial to me because I know I have made lifelong relationships that are deeply rooted in our shared experience.”

The EMBA program organizes Lessons in Leadership each year to provide networking opportunities to current and former EMBA students, and to give them a chance to learn from prominent leaders in the business community. This year’s featured speaker was Michael Coles, co-founder of the Great American Cookie Company and the namesake of the Coles College of Business.

Lessons in Leadership Michael Coles

Coles spoke to the audience about the hardships and successes he experienced as a serial entrepreneur, the motorcycle accident that nearly killed him, and his experiences breaking three world records for transcontinental bicycling.

One of the key themes of his presentation was the value of strong mentors. He described how his own mentors, including Irving Settler, the owner of a clothing store who hired Coles as a teenager to work for him, helped Coles develop into the successful businessperson he ultimately became.

“Here I am talking about someone who affected my life when I was 13 years old,” Coles said. “And every day I still thank him for having the confidence to teach me so much about business and life. That’s why to this day I always tell people that if you need a mentor, find one. When you find your way, become one.”

Lessons in Leadership concluded with Allan Bishop, the EMBA program’s Director of Recruitment and Business Development, sharing his thoughts with the attendees on the importance of leadership.

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better,” he said. “The more you inspire, the more people will inspire you.”

– Patrick Harbin

Photos by Dot Paul