Ross | Disruptive Force

"For me, it is just as important to understand the why behind what we do as it is to understand how we should be doing it," mused Ross Woods, MBA '14. Woods, Field Operations Manager at Capital Access, took an interesting path to his current position where he is "deployed on a project with the New York State Governor's Office of Storm Recovery." As a state vendor, Capital Access oversees New York Rising Acquisition for Redevelopment program which assists homeowners whose homes were substantially damaged in Hurricane Sandy. Woods shared that he has his job now "because of a connection what was facilitated by an Eastern professor. Beyond this, Eastern prepared me to think critically and equipped me with the business, leadership and development principles that I utilize on a daily basis."

Woods found his way to Eastern through a friendship with Michael Sheridan, Academic Coordinator in the School of Leadership and Development and a member of his church. "I struck up a friendship with Mike, as I respected his family and his walk with God, and I wanted the input of an older man in my life," Woods said.

Woods makes clear that he "chose Eastern because it was the only school I could find that offered an MBA with a focus on economic development and viewed business as a tool to serve the 'bottom of the pyramid', which is a very unique distinctive. It is also unique in how it integrates faith into every aspect of the program." It was his "dissatisfaction with the corporate world and the hollow focus on 'the bottom line,'" that drove Woods to search for more.

"I discovered my love for being involved in work that matters and this eventually led me to Eastern." Woods was looking to impact change in the cultural landscape of the nonprofit sector. In pursuing his MBA in Economic Development, Woods found his current job, an interesting hybrid that he appreciatively notes as being "a very rewarding experience to be a disruptive force for good, especially considering we are working to implement a government funded program!"

Capital Access "offers families that have lived through a very trying experience, having lost everything, an opportunity to begin a new chapter in their lives." Woods understands that his stewardship, through contract management, positions him to significantly change lives every day.

When asked if Eastern really is a place that wakes up the world, Woods responded with, "well, it woke up my world!" He elaborated by allowing access into his past; "God was plotting my course every step of the way. He was molding and shaping me at different points in my life to have me seek the education and skills I've obtained,so I can serve Him in the way He uniquely plotted out for me. It took me working in corporate America and the nonprofit sector to instill the pasion I now have to be a disruptive force to help wake up this world.

Woods concluded the interview with the psalm that he prays for guidance: "Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hid myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground." (Psalm 143:8b-10, NIV)