JRF Alumni: Where Are They Now?
November 17, 2015 - Alumni
“JRF and Rachel Robinson were springboards to my success,” says Ronald Berry. And a success it has been for the JRF alumnus, a Stanford University class of 1994 graduate, who went on to earn an MBA in Strategic Management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, worked as the Director of Global Marketing at Microsoft Financing, and is now the Director of IT Digital for LATAM Airlines Group, based in Santiago, Chile.
In a recent phone conversation with Mr. Berry, he recalled his time as a JRF Scholar as being eye-opening and empowering. “It was amazing to me, as a college kid, to be bumping into people like Bryant Gumbel and his wife – to be interacting with ‘success’ and be shown the multitude of possibilities that awaited me.” It wasn’t just at the dinners, recalled Berry, that he felt that way. It was when he was around his peers as well. “It made me think I can be part of this crowd, and I have as much a right to be part of this crowd as anyone else. I had the opportunity to have an audience with Rachel Robinson. How amazing is that?”
“JRF charged your batteries, motivated you and gave you that extra springboard into your professional career.”
Still in contact with some of his fellow Scholars from the time, the Networking Weekends (now called the Scholars’ Mentoring and Leadership Conference) were the best part of the JRF experience, where he remembers like-minded individuals coming together to provide each other with a support system. And he made sure to take advantage of myriad networking opportunities afforded him. “JRF charged your batteries, motivated you and gave you that extra springboard into your professional career,” he said.
Mr. Berry was introduced to the Foundation by his mother’s friend, Ellen Dickerson, and quickly took Jackie and Rachel Robinson’s legacy of social activism and volunteerism to heart. He currently gives back to JRF as well as his alma mater, Stanford. He has also been very active in local mentorship opportunities and church-based tutoring.
“I give back to JRF because I have been in the same situation where current Scholars are now. That was me. I want to pay it forward. If I can benefit a student to make it to college, it’s my duty to help,” says Berry.