Brandon Jo'el

MPS, Global Development
  • Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
  • College attended and major: Bradley University: Public Relations B.S. and Hofstra University: Rhetoric-Public Advocacy M.A. 
What are the big challenges you want to tackle in the world?

One of the world's biggest challenges I will combat is an individual's lack of right to freely exist as themselves. While parts of the world have become safe havens for diversity, much of the world still can't pursue authentic expression or access to resources to cultivate a safe space. My world mission is simple, create access to spaces where people can "Just Exist." I plan to support organizations in developing countries that service marginalized communities and work with them to ensure their constituents have the resources (employment, housing, community) they need to "Just Exist."

What were you doing before the MPS program?

Before the MPS program, I have been at Cornell for 1.5 years building the Speech Team program on campus. In addition to my work on campus, I manage clients and national campaigns for my Branding company When I wasn't being a complete workaholic I would travel internationally!

Tell us a fun fact about you.

I was born with a second full set of wisdom teeth.

What does global development mean to you?

Global Development is an opportunity to study and understand the needs of different communities and work with them to build solutions. In my opinion, there is no point in developing anything around the globe if we aren't prioritizing the people in it. Global Development is an invitation to collaborate with real people on identifying the challenges in their community and offering your skills to help improve the quality of their daily lives.

What has been the most memorable or impactful experience of your career so far?

My first academic job was teaching Interpersonal Communications at a community college. Ironically I never wanted to teach, I wanted to be out in the world meeting people doing "the work." All of that melted away when a student of color, very shy and timid, came up to me after a class and told me, "thanks for really caring about me and my life." Me, completely stunned, I wanted to know more about what prompted them to say this. The student said, " I have never had a black queer professor or teacher, seeing you be yourself and invested in us, made me believe in what I could do." That was the moment I knew teaching will always be a part of my career and global mission.

How do you envision your MPS degree contributing to your career?

The MPS program will show me how to leverage communication as a legitimate tool for community development. I have had a lot of experience with campaigning, fundraising, and building community awareness. But the impact and reach of my work stopped when the campaign or objective finished. I want to learn how to amplify marginalized voices and be able to work with them to build their own platform to create sustainable change for their communities.

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