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A 'Call' to Action?

Jessica Flaten, right, in London with a friend

Jessica Flaten graduated from Babson last week.  She is now home in D.C., but in September this seasoned traveler will leave for West Africa with the Peace Corps for 3 months of training followed by 24 months of service. She expects and hopes to make use of her Babson education and her family's legacy of international development work, by helping with small business development in either Senegal or Mali.

Growing up for Jessica was far from usual. Her father was a farm boy from Minnesota whose dream was to travel the world. After college, he did just that and continues to work in development around the world. Jessica's mother (raised in Nepal while her father started a hospital there) met Jessica's dad when their visits to the U.S. coincided. The rest, as they say, is history. Jessica has lived in four countries besides the U.S.: Nepal, where she was born, Philippines, Pakistan, and Tajikistan; make that five if you count Scotland, where she spent a semester abroad from Babson. She has traveled in 27 countries on four continents. But this will be her first visit to Africa!

Jessica always knew she would live and work outside the U.S. after college. In fact, she served as a student ambassador for the British Council USA during her senior year. From working three years in Babson's CCD office, she knows how and where to look for a job, she just couldn't decide what kind of job she wanted after graduation.

At a CWL event last year, Jessica heard Suzy Welch talk about her personal dilemma choosing a career path that would be exciting, not boring. She encouraged the audience of young women not to fear taking risks in their own professional journeys.

Suzy's honest reflection sparked Jessica's fearful realization that her current direction might lead to a boring life! She stopped the job search so familiar to her classmates in favor of something more adventurous. Remembering interesting conversations with her dad about the Peace Corps, she investigated further and learned that she could use her business degree to do something that will make a difference – not just a paycheck.  

With her business degree, a love of international travel, a family legacy of third-world development, and a healthy curiosity for other cultures, Jessica sees this next step in her life journey as the link that joins them all. While her friends are finding apartments with or without parking in Boston and NYC, she's wondering if she'll have running water and electricity!

Since 2000, Babson has produced 3 other Peace Corps volunteers. I hope we can get one of them to speak about their experiences on campus in the near future! 

Jessica, will it be you?