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Friday, March 31, 2023

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Channelle McNutt (left) and Tom Rivera immediately before they were crowned homecoming royalty for 2012. Channelle McNutt (left) and Tom Rivera immediately before they were crowned homecoming royalty for 2012.

Alumna Embraces Her Passion for Leadership, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Channelle McNutt’s (’13, ’17 MBA) experiences as a student leader at SDSU helped her discover “the core of who I am.”
By Suzanne Finch

“My experience as a student leader exposed me to new opportunities, specifically within leadership and management consulting.”

For Channelle McNutt, a busy resume of extracurricular activities at San Diego State University brought a form of empowerment, a sense of community — and a path to a career much different from what she had planned.

During her undergraduate years, McNutt (’13, ’17 MBA) was executive vice president and diversity and inclusion commissioner in Associated Students, president of the Afrikan Student Union, founder of a National Association of Women MBAs chapter, and 2012 homecoming queen. While earning her master’s, she worked on campus for three years in the University Relations and Development (URAD) department.

McNutt, a San Diego native, initially considered attending Howard University in Washington D.C. but was faced with a choice when she also was accepted to SDSU.

“I ultimately chose San Diego State because of the proximity to family, diversity of the student population and the Veterans Affairs program,” said McNutt, whose father served in the U.S. Navy. “Ultimately, my parents were the driving force behind my choice of SDSU and I think they were more excited than I was when we got my acceptance letter.”

Initially, McNutt planned to become an attorney, but she plotted an alternative career choice during her junior year.

“My experience as a student leader exposed me to new opportunities, specifically within leadership and management consulting,” she said. “I knew having my degrees in political science and communication could benefit me regardless of what my career aspirations were, but I knew I wanted additional skills and that earning my MBA could help me launch a business career.”

Empowerment Sparks Activism

It was also during her junior year that McNutt became more involved in student organizations which empowered her. “As a first-generation college student, I really didn’t know what to expect from my college experience and the adjustment was overwhelming at times,” she said. “Once I got involved with the Afrikan Student Union and Associated Students, I truly felt like I was part of a community. And that’s where my journey in activism, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) began — as a student leader. I’ve held on to those campus experiences.”

After earning her bachelor’s degrees, McNutt began a full-time job in SDSU’s URAD department while enrolling in the MBA program at the Fowler College of Business, a time that provided her with lessons she could use in years to come.

“Sometimes, I was the only woman of color in my classes, and I learned the importance of building relationships from people of all walks of life,” said McNutt. “I also learned that sometimes you need to create or build what doesn’t exist.”

In McNutt’s case, she was able to work with faculty and staff at the Fowler College of Business and the College of Education to optimize her MBA experience. She selected two education courses in student equity and strategic planning in community colleges as electives to provide her with the instruction she needed to help her in her job as an SDSU development officer and later as DEI consultant.

As a development officer for SDSU, McNutt was focused on generating philanthropic gifts for the Fowler College of Business before being promoted to the role of assistant director, where she met with alumni and managed volunteer boards in the Dallas-Fort Worth/Austin regions of Texas. Then, after earning her MBA in 2017, McNutt got the opportunity to follow her passion for organizational development, DEI and leadership development as a principal consultant at Jones & Associates Consulting in San Diego.

“DEI is at the core of who I am,” said McNutt. “From my passion for helping and developing others to serving my community, to being a woman of color (Black and Filipino), I’ve always made it my mission to ‘create space and opportunity’ for others — especially individuals that feel like they don’t have a voice, don’t feel seen or valued.”

Making a Difference

In her current role, McNutt provides training, coaching and consulting services to executives and organizations on a global basis in the areas of leadership development, organizational change and diversity, equity and inclusion.

“The best part of my job is the fact that I get to make a difference every single day,” she said. “Being a management consultant and DEI practitioner is meaningful work that truly transforms people and organizations. Whether that’s one-on-one with an executive or facilitating leadership training to thousands of people, I truly believe that the work I do helps leaders, communities and organizations.”

“I loved my time as a student leader,” she said. “My experiences as executive vice president, and diversity and inclusion commission for Associated Students, and the president of the Afrikan Student Union were truly life changing. Every important person in my life that wasn’t a family member (though they are now my family) was someone I met while I was at SDSU.”