Jessica Simon Fuqua 15BBA considers herself to be hopelessly authentic. “You’re always going to get the genuine Jess, which may not always be what people want to hear,” she says. “I just can’t help but be true to myself.”
Fuqua’s drive for authenticity and lessons in giving credence to her own strength and value as a professional have propelled her to start a new career in strategy and operations at LinkedIn in New York City.
Fuqua’s road map started even before stepping foot onto Emory’s campus, however. After she and her five siblings experienced what some would see as impossible obstacles to overcome at home, Fuqua was forced to navigate applying to college without parental guidance. With no money to visit colleges, Fuqua relied on recruiters to travel to her school to learn more. When Emory’s recruiter came to her school, Fuqua saw hope and knew there might be a chance.
“I’m someone who’s very calculating in terms of trying to make good decisions with lots of information, data, and advice, but I’ve found the biggest decisions that I’ve made in my life have been based on gut instinct,” she says. “I knew right away going to Emory was one of those decisions, my first job at Deloitte was one, and marrying my husband was the latest example.”
The First Gift of Many from Emory and Goizueta
When Fuqua’s acceptance packet came in the mail from Emory, she was pleasantly surprised to find that a significant portion of the cost was covered by a loan replacement grant. Fuqua was part of the Emory Advantage Program where she eventually became a Varner Scholar, a student who is recognized for academia and involvement on campus. Even with a full ride to another school, Fuqua says she took the “scarier path.”
She recalls, “I chose Emory because I felt like in my gut it was the right place and that not knowing what I wanted to do, it would allow me to take many paths and be successful because of how well-rounded it is as an institution.”
While many questioned how she could balance school and the personal challenges she faced, her response was always, “how can I not be trying?” While her college experience was different than most, Fuqua found and continues to find, a large, supportive Emory and Goizueta network willing to help her through her personal and professional journey.
“I think it’s easy to remember the emotional trauma I felt navigating that tumultuous time in my life,” Fuqua says. “But I think in a lot of ways it was both the best and worst time. There were many highs as I navigated being so actively involved in the community – and felt seen and supported in that way, but there were also many lows as I tried to navigate the emotional trauma I was experiencing – and didn’t always feel understood.
“Overall, my time at Emory and Goizueta was an experience I am extremely grateful for and that truly empowered me to pursue the life I wanted for myself – and that gift is immeasurable and worth every vicissitude.”
For Emory students, the gift of scholarship can be life-changing. Read about how Emory Expands Financial Aid to Allow More Students to Graduate Debt-Free.
The future starts here as we recruit and build a Goizueta community of the best and brightest students from around the globe. As one of Goizueta’s top campaign priorities, student scholarship support will help provide the resources and opportunities students need to become the business leaders of tomorrow. Learn more here.