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Success Story

Scheller College Alumni Making an Indelible Mark in Business and Community

Double Jackets Ashish Arya, Joyelle  Harris, and Amy Phuong named 2017 Atlanta Business Chronicle ‘40 under 40’

Atlanta Business Chronicle has named Ashish Arya (B.S.M. 2006, MBA GB 2013), Joyelle (Joy) Harris (E.E. 2001, MBA 2017), and Amy Phuong (I.A.E. 2005, MBA MOT 2014) have been named to its  2017 ‘40 under 40’.  In addition to each being a “Double Jacket,” holding undergraduate degrees from Georgia Tech and a second degree from Scheller College of Business, they have several other things in common including a lifelong passion for learning, thought leadership in their respective industries, and strong support of the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business community.

Double Jackets Arya, Harris and Phuong already held a degree from Georgia Tech, giving them the opportunity to attend any top-tier MBA program in the nation. When asked “Why a Scheller College of Business MBA?” All three agreed that they wanted a top-ranked Scheller College MBA to enhance their overall approach to global business. After researching several other businesses schools, it came down to selecting the MBA program with cutting-edge classes and experiential learning;  world-class faculty with a strong commitment to interdisciplinary work; access to major corporations, growth and mid-stage companies, startups; vast network of diverse peers and alumni; and a world-renowned research university.  They noted they wanted to get the biggest bang for their buck, they are business students after all.

Arya, Harris and Phuong are humbled and thankful to the people who nominated them for Atlanta Business Chronicle’s prestigious 40 under 40. Scheller College students, faculty and staff also congratulate Arya, Harris and Phuong. Dean Maryam Alavi said “It is inspiring to honor and celebrate Scheller College students and alumni as they serve as examples of inspirational and innovative leaders who also develop solutions that stand out and make a real difference for consumers, businesses and communities.”

Ashish Arya (B.S.M. 2006, MBA GB 2013) is one of the youngest 40 under 40 members with a notable career in marketing.

As a Scheller College undergraduate, Arya was blown away with the college’s marketing department. According to Arya, faculty like Michael Buchanan continue to be on the cutting edge of digital marketing and serve as incredible mentors to their students. Thanks to his education at Scheller College, Arya entered the workforce equipped with the skills he needed, which led to him receiving a marketing internship at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide.

Upon graduation, Arya was the second Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide employee in a newly created digital marketing sector. His next opportunity was to work as a director of e-commerce and digital marketing for a powerhouse in marketing, The Coca-Cola Company.

Arya was quickly recruited by Pinterest for his current role as Travel Partnerships Director to lead a new business vertical for the company. Arya is challenging the way the travel and hospitality industry think about marketing in this progressive digital era. He is also helping market and build brands to appeal to a technology driven audience. Ashish continues to take on roles that have not existed before and he is convinced that the secret to his success is loving failure. It has allowed this trailblazer to learn, innovate and maintain an entrepreneurial mindset and embrace change.

As the convergence of marketing and technology continues to redefine the way brands are built in the modern world, Arya too will continue to reinvent and advance the way global travel and hospitality brands succeed.

One of Arya’s personal goals is to increase awareness about Scheller College’s incredible marketing program and its students. He continues to serve as an advisor to the students of the Georgia Tech Marketing Association (GTMA) who Arya says are “incredibly impressive as they are creative, and design focused, technology driven along with data driven analytical skills. GTMA is an incredible digital marketing pipeline with students like Abby Barsky who was one of America Marketing Association’s outstanding collegiate marketer of the year as well as recent President of Georgia Tech Marketing Association (GTMA).” Arya is convinced he will be working for Barsky one day.

Joy Harris (E.E. 2001, MBA 2017) who, at the age of 10, could wire a home took her skills to a new level as an Electrical Engineering Ph.D. graduate student researcher at Princeton University.  She was a pioneer in the design and creation of stretchable electronics. Her research was applied to the healing processes of brain injuries, used to create programmable braille and to develop “feeling” skin for prosthetic limbs. While working at Oak Ridge National Labs, Harris also created an inexpensive way to detect dangerous chemicals using parts of a CD player.

Harris currently serves in a number of leadership roles. She is the Executive Director of the Council of Schools and Services for the Blind to ensure quality education for children who are blind or visually impaired. At the same time, Harris balances three key roles at Georgia Tech. She teaches at Georgia Tech, she is Associate Director of CREATE-X LEARN (a faculty-led, student-focused initiative to instill entrepreneurial confidence in Georgia Tech students), and she is Director of the Georgia Tech Engineering for Social Innovation (ESI) center.

Harris was also involved with other initiatives at Georgia Tech including the College of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholars Program for students who tackle global problems including cyber-security and global access to healthcare. She even partnered with the Spoon Foundation, an organization that creates and spreads tools needed for critical nutrition and feeding practices to children with disabilities from around the globe, to develop an adaptable baby high-seat for cultures where people eat on the floor. Harris also collaborated with the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta to increase the centers treatment capacity.

Harris plans to use her Scheller College MBA to better understand corporate America.

Businesses are a collective entity that can create sustainable, positive and social change, and I want to be part of that,” she said. In addition to her roles at Georgia Tech she also works as a brand manager for Zyrobotics, an assistive technology company that is a Georgia Tech Venturelab spin-off company.

Amy Phuong (I.A.E. 2005, MBA MOT 2014) has always had a passion for community service. While working as an operations director for supply chain and logistics company, McMaster-Carr, Phuong served as a volunteer for Kasim Reed’s mayoral campaign. She had no idea that she would later be tapped as Mayor Reed’s chief service officer, a newly created position funded by New York’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Mayor Reed went on to nominate Phuong as a candidate for the role of commissioner for parks and recreation and Atlanta City Council selected Phuong for the position.

As commissioner of the Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation, Amy Phuong is constantly challenged to produce solutions to problems while addressing future and forward-thinking opportunities that come from a vibrant and rapidly transforming city. Parks and recreation must be strappy with their funds, so Amy quickly learned to leverage and tap into Georgia Tech’s dynamic network. Mike Edwards, senior director of Georgia Tech Campus Recreation (CRC) and his team proved to be incredible advisors as they shared Georgia Tech’s innovative and sustainable designs including their filtering system. Armed with knowledge, Amy and her team thought through each of the parks lifecycles to develop new, sustainably-designed parks.

It will come as no surprise that even though Mayor Reed’s second term ends on January 9, 2018, Phuong is not slowing down as she sprints to the finish line. Phuong is determined to leave her office in a better position than when she started, and although this has already been accomplished by her incredible successes, including the new MLK Recreation and Aquatic Center and several pocket parks. Nevertheless, Phuong is spearheading another massive and transformational project for the city of Atlanta; turning the Westside Reservoir Park at Bellwood Quarry to what will become the largest park in Atlanta with unmatched views of the city.


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