Christine Brown-Quinn, M.B.A. ’92, is a career expert, author and consultant with a background in international finance.
By Ruth Steinhardt
Christine Brown-Quinn, M.B.A. ’92, will be the next president of the George Washington University Alumni Association (GWAA) starting July 1. She takes over the position from Richard Jones, J.D. ’84, who began his own tenure in May 2019.
Ms. Brown-Quinn is a career strategist, author and consultant at The Female Capitalist. She pivoted from her decades-long career in international finance after realizing that, as one of only a few women at her level in a male-dominated field, she could offer valuable guidance to other professional women. She is based in London and serves on the advisory board of the U.S. Alumni Club of Britain, which supports U.K.-based alumni clubs of American universities.
Ms. Brown-Quinn, who was a mother of two children under the age of four at the time she returned to school, chose GW for her M.B.A. because of its two-year, full-time degree option and its offerings in international business.
“The experience in the classroom was fantastic, because you had many people who were working in all walks of life,” she said. “We were in groups with people from different industries, different personal circumstances, different stages of their careers, and that was extremely beneficial.”
It wasn’t only her classmates whose variety of experience benefitted her, but “the whole vibe of the campus,” Ms. Brown-Quinn said. “I’d walk by all of the doctors and medical professionals with the hospital; I’d see a lot of people in military uniform. These were people who had already started their careers, and I benefited tremendously from that diversity of experience and thought.”
The emphasis on experiential learning and group work at GW also helped Ms. Brown-Quinn transition into her finance career, she said—and when she was hired directly out of school into a U.K.-based bank, the skills she’d gained at GW in group work and straightforward conflict resolution set her apart.
“I came into GW with the mindset that if I wanted something done, I had to do it myself,” she said. “I came out of GW realizing that actually, to get the best results, it’s about working within a group—and that takes longer, but the output is so much better. It also gives you practical skills, like conflict resolution, because as you’re dealing with these different groups, conflict isn’t an exception, it’s the rule.”
As someone who came to GW as an adult professional, Ms. Brown-Quinn knows that non-traditional and graduate students may have children at home, a full-time career or other limitations that prevent them from making as many lasting connections as the average GW undergraduate does. But she said the opportunity to forge those bonds with each other and with the school doesn’t have to end with graduation. In fact, she said, a fellow GW alumna in the U.K. told her, “Christine, I feel closer to the university now than I did when I was a student.”
Ms. Brown-Quinn said that “alumni have a connection and a shared experience, no matter when we were here or what we studied. Even though we might not have known each other directly during our time at GW, we still have that link.”
As GWAA president, Ms. Brown-Quinn also is hoping to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in terms of outreach and support. And she’s talking to fellow members of the GWAA Executive Board to help understand their priorities and empower individuals who feel passionate about particular initiatives to lead on those issues.
More than anything, Ms. Brown-Quinn said she hopes her tenure will help create powerful and supportive networks among diverse groups of alumni.
“In a world where everything’s being disrupted and trust is at a premium, I think the alumni community has a lot of value in terms of how we can support each other,” she said. “Your story is our story. Your success is our success.”