Joshalynn Green learned to adapt at a young age. She had to.
She grew up in a broken home without her father around. Her family moved so often she bounced between over a dozen schools across seven states before turning 18.
With everything that was going on, education wasn’t a priority.
“I didn’t drop out of high school, but I did barely graduate,” Joshalynn said.
But through it all she kept her first love – basketball – close to her heart, making it a little easier to navigate the trying times.
After finishing high school she left Colorado for Miles College – a historically black college just outside of Birmingham, Alabama – with ambitions to play on the school’s team.
But her basketball career came to a grinding halt when she tore her ACL and meniscus and was unable to recover, reinjuring her knee time and again.
Joshalynn was devastated, but she didn’t give up on her team. Looking for other ways to contribute, she began working for the squad as a manager and statistician.
“Being around the sport just helped,” she said.
Making a change
Joshalynn’s time spent calculating shooting percentages and analyzing data from the games gave rise to a new passion. Learning to code, manage databases and develop business frameworks, she began coursework in information systems, using the same problem-solving skills she had displayed on the court to navigate a different world.
After her injury, Joshalynn started concentrating more on school, and seeking out ways to give back to her community.
Unable to compete for the college as an athlete, Joshalynn took park in the school’s pageant and was crowned Miss Miles College a year before graduating. As part of her efforts Joshalynn started a campus-wide conversation around empowering women, even creating a campus mentoring group, Phenomenal Women, to encourage her classmates.
“I knew that just as much as I wanted to succeed, I wanted other students to succeed,” she said.
After graduating with honors, Joshanlynn returned to Colorado and was hired as a manager at Walmart. She supported and supervised hundreds of employees, and recruited new hires, before transitioning to a human resources position at Johnson Controls in Aurora, Colorado.
Giving back to move forward
Wanting to chart her own course, Joshalynn dreamed of one day founding a business and sought ways to encourage others in similar situations.
She took part in pageants in her home state, and after winning the title of Miss Black Colorado, continued sharing her message of inspiration and the power of adaptability in hopes of uplifting the next generation of women leaders. Joshalynn began speaking at women’s shelters, in pediatric hospital units, high schools, and nonprofits.
“I have a story for a reason, and I think that our stories make us who we are,” Joshalynn said.
“At the end of that experience if just one person can come up to me to say, ‘I was on the verge of giving up on school,’ or, ‘I was on the verge of just throwing in the towel, and after hearing you speak, I know there is still hope,’ it just means the world to me.”
And Joshalynn knew her story wasn’t over either. Looking for a way to keep moving forward she came to Colorado State University’s College of Business in 2015 to pursue an MBA.
“It’s never too late to change your life, or further your education, and I think CSU’s online business program is the perfect example of letting people have that flexibility to gain that education while working and having their families.”
Discovering the flexibility of an Online MBA
“I’ve been loving the experience,” said Joshalynn.
At first she considered taking classes on campus, but when she learned about the online experience, and toured the college’s digital studio during an orientation, she knew that the program would be a great fit.
“Their production team is incredible,” she said, describing the convenience of being able to stream lectures at her convenience, which allowed her time to volunteer in the community while working full time.
“The professors really make you feel like you’re in the classroom,” said Joshalynn. “That makes me feel appreciated when they take the time to reach out.”
“They set up that time to make sure that your needs are met,” Joshalynn said. “If you’re not understanding something, they’re really good about responding to emails and giving you the steps that you’re missing.”
But perhaps her favorite part of the MBA program has been the group assignments that connect students with their classmates across the country to complete projects and learn to work as a team at a distance.
“My LinkedIn has certainly grown since I’ve been in the program,” she said with a laugh. A career management elective even laid out the ways Joshalynn could refine her profile and stand out to employers, in addition to helping her learn successful interview techniques.
“A lot of these things you think that you know, but when you get on a professional level it’s a totally different ball game.”
Choosing her path
“I think it’s one thing to have that textbook knowledge, and a whole ‘nother thing to have that experience,” she said, and a way to apply that to real world situations.
Now the MBA student is continuing to share her story with those who might think an education is out of their reach, who might not realize there are ways they can adapt.
“Those things are what keep me going,” said Joshalynn. “You can make a difference and education can help you do that.”
It’s impossible to know where chance and circumstance will lead, but Joshalynn is confident that regardless of what path she ends up on she’ll be more prepared, having developed skills that will help her for years to come.