It’s only been a year since Selina Marshall, BSBA’16, graduated from Creighton, but her record of active alumni rivals graduates with 20 or 30 years on her. She mentored at last fall’s entrepreneurial event, Three-Day Startup (3DS); served as guest judge for the Entrepreneurship Capstone course offered by Taylor Keen, MA, instructor of strategy and entrepreneurship; spoke to area high school students about technology and business opportunities for Youth Leadership Omaha; interviewed prospective business students during February’s Heider Fellows Weekend; volunteered as a delegate judging the Opus Prize; worked with noted photographer Rev. Don Doll, S.J. on website development and this spring helped cement the enrollment of a few admitted students interested in entrepreneurship.
“I am always honored to be invited back to campus,” says Marshall, understating her continued involvement at Creighton.
That she is capable is no surprise. Marshall earned numerous awards and recognitions as a Heider College undergraduate, including Outstanding Marketing Graduate, Outstanding Entrepreneurship Graduate and Heider Student of the Year during her junior and senior years. That she has time, that is another story altogether.
After running communications and marketing at DriveSpotter for the past year in Omaha, Marshall has recently accepted a marketing associate position at TechStars in Kansas City, MO.
TechStars is a global network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and one of the ways it does this is through accelerator programs.
“From my past experience I knew I loved working with startups, but this opportunity was unique in that I would be able to work with 10 companies at once. It presents me a new challenge of learning about 10 very unique technologies, and, as a marketer, of thinking how to appeal to customers in those industries,” says Marshall.
“Companies going through accelerators are figuring out how to best develop their technologies, how to find investors, and deliver the most value to their customers,” Marshall continues. “I have the fun job of helping them through this journey, with the added perspective of my marketing background and existing startup experience. I’m also really passionate about building strong company cultures, so seeing companies form mission and values in these early days is one definitely of my favorite parts of the job.”
Working with young companies means being open to change and rapid growth. But Marshall believes her Creighton experience taught her adaptability. “I think that’s one of the most important skills to have in the entrepreneurial environment. Without a little uncertainty and commitment to changing the way we do things, startups wouldn’t exist,” she has found.
Eventually, Marshall would like to channel her startup experience toward establishing her own social enterprise. She pursued a social entrepreneurship track of the management major at Creighton, which espouses using the principles of business to establishing startups that address social or environmental concerns.
It was her passion for social entrepreneurship that brought her to the attention of the Opus Prize selection committee. As a member of one of the delegate teams judging the three Opus Prize finalists, Marshall traveled to the Dzaleka Refugee Camp outside of Lilongwe, Malawi to visit Jesuit Worldwide Learning. Founded by Rev. Peter Balleis, S.J., Jesuit Worldwide Learning brings Jesuit university educational opportunities to refugee camps by partnering with universities like Creighton to provide online courses. At first, Marshall associated a program’s success with job placement, which she discovered was nearly impossible for someone with refugee status. Her time in the camp quickly righted this misconception. “It wasn’t until I started meeting graduates of the program that I realized how wrong I was. I saw the impact that the graduates are having in the community of Dzaleka,” explains Marshall. “They are becoming entrepreneurs, educators, organizers and community leaders. Their work is helping other refugees regain their identity and make the most of their lives in the refugee camps.”
This includes restoring human dignity and confidence and using their specializations to create innovative and sustainable solutions, she continues. Though her collegiate experience was, literally, worlds apart from that which students at Jesuit Worldwide Learning have, the fundamentals are similar.
“Whether at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska or a refugee camp in Malawi, being Jesuit-educated is about being passionate and equipped with the skills needed to make a difference in the world,” Marshall believes.