Focused After the Fork in the Road: Kathleen Fleming

Intense and wonderful experiences abroad gave her a taste for what could be done in the global health care space. Wharton has given her knowledge to get it done.

Photo credit: Tommy Leonardi

Photo credit: Tommy Leonardi

After working in Ethiopia, Haiti and Mozambique, Kathleen Fleming, WG’13, knew she needed more management and financial training to contribute to global health care efforts. So she came to Wharton.

Her interests in international health took root at another Ivy. During her undergrad years at Brown University, she studied international relations and came to a “fork in the road,” between global health and political science. The opportunity between her junior and senior years to join the Clinton Health Access Initiative’s (CHAI) pediatric HIV team in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, sealed the decision.

Following graduation, Fleming served again with CHAI in Ethiopia, joined a social startup in Mozambique, and then worked with Containers 2 Clinics, which retrofitted shipping containers into stocked mobile medical clinics sent to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake.

At Wharton, she put some of her budding leadership skills into practice with the Leadership Fellows Program. She recently found out that she was one of two recipients of the Behrman Family Fellowship “in recognition for exemplary contributions to the Wharton Leadership Program.”

“At School, there’s a focus on ‘stretch experiences’ that take students out of what’s familiar to teach them confidence, composure and a predilection for action in difficult situations. That kind of training blew my expectations out of the water,” Fleming explains, adding it also connected her with a group of “awesome people with a strong bent toward personal development and service.”

Her leadership style will assuredly be useful when she starts her post-MBA position at Bain & Co. in Boston, where she worked as a summer associate last year.

Ultimately, the world will beckon again. Fleming looks forward to a career in which she brings private-sector project management and impact measurement skills to bear on global health. 

—By Anne Freedman

Editor’s note: Read more about Wharton’s Class of 2013 and five other individual class leaders in our cover article, “Diverse, Resilient, Ready: The Class of 2013.”

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