Business without borders

Name: Ashley VanOsdol
Program: Human resource management
Year: 1st year master’s degree
Hometown: Columbus, Indiana

Changing history: The course of history for many Honduran women is changing, thanks in part to volunteers like Ashley. While serving in the Peace Corps as a business development volunteer, she helped women small business owners implement a plan to increase tourism to their vacation homes. She taught them marketing concepts including identifying target customers and distribution of promotional materials, which resulted in a 20 percent increase of seasonal tourism. Ashley also secured marketing for their city on the country’s official tourism website. “These women have the tools to run successful businesses, but the key is to guide them to identify what they need rather than telling them what to do. This will allow the women to maintain that marketing thought process and continually want to improve.”

Taking the lead: Recognizing how influential a graduate degree could be, her global perspective and passion led her to Purdue. Ashley is now studying human resource management to apply what she learns to international and national organizations. “Not only does Purdue have one of the top HR programs, but the large international population is definitely an advantage, especially within the MBA program.” Along with her undergraduate degrees from Ball State in international business and marketing and her upcoming internship with Shell, she hopes to bring more strategies from the corporate world to the non-profit sector.

Not just a tourist: Ashley went on her first volunteer mission to Mexico when she was 10—little did she know that would be the first of many trips. Since then she has traveled to Cameroon, India, Italy, London, Paris, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, St. Thomas, Nassau and Haiti. It comes as no surprise that she is inspired by international opportunities that allow her to learn about other cultures. “Having the opportunity to travel to so many places has given me a sense of the difference one can make.”

Getting to know you: Ashley likes to kayak, run, travel and read literary works by Chuck Klosterman, Donald Miller and Jack Kerouac. She also enjoys listening to music from Latin America since being introduced to it in Honduras.

Her advice: Don’t assume what someone knows or does not know before listening to their story.

By Sarah Showalter