Chinwe Gaines earned her MBA/Master of Health Administration (MBA/MHA) dual degree from Robinson alongside approximately 40 of her colleagues. Her then employer, Wellstar Health System, offered its staff an opportunity to pursue a master’s and build new skills—and seriously upskill she did. At the time, in 2014, Gaines worked as a compliance auditor for Wellstar. Within six months of graduation, Northside Hospital recruited her to be senior chargemaster analyst (an opportunity within the revenue integrity department to oversee earnings from a coding and billing standpoint).
“Everything I learned at Robinson prepared me for that transition,” Gaines said. “The professors and staff were so engaging. The energy was contagious. I knew after I completed my degree that I’d have to find a way to give back.”
Gaines joined Georgia State University’s Alumni Association (GSUAA) board of directors. She currently serves as chair for board development and governance. As leader of that committee, Gaines periodically reviews the GSUAA’s bylaws and mission.
The GSUAA aims to foster a sense of community among Georgia State graduates, largely by hosting events like Third Thursday mixers at restaurants around Metro Atlanta.
“I see our alumni connecting at these events all the time,” Gaines said. “New graduates might mention they’re looking to get into a specific industry, and more seasoned alumni will say, ‘I might have something. Give me your card, and I’ll be in touch.’”
Gaines also works closely with the board of Georgia State’s Young Alumni Council (YAC), an organization focused on the interests of graduates under the age of 40. YAC members receive career advice from the experienced professionals who sit on both the GSUAA and YAC boards.
In addition to encouraging increased alumni engagement, all of the GSUAA’s activities serve as a pipeline for future board leadership.
Through the MBA/MHA program, Gaines developed new knowledge she could immediately apply to everyday office life. Of equal importance, she built critical soft skills: reading the room, engaging with senior leaders, and building plans based on higher-ups’ needs.
“I gained so much from Robinson, and it’s important to pass that on to the next generation,” she said. “We have to keep the energy going, and engage with and get to know each other.”