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Michigan Ross MBA Alum Selected for CEO Action Fellowship to Improve Racial Equity for Black Americans


Branton Cole, MBA ‘06, has been selected as a fellow with CEO Action for Racial Equity, a fellowship to help advance societal racial equity through public, business and community policy work.

The CEO Action for Racial Equity fellowship is the largest of its kind, with nearly 250 employees from 100-plus participating organizations. Through the fellowship, Cole will get to work alongside leaders who are passionate about closing racial equity gaps in the public, business, and community arenas. Cole self-nominated for the two-year fellowship, and was selected to represent his employer, PwC. He is one of 30 PwC professionals represented in the Fellowship.

Cole believes that the playing field is not level for Black Americans and that people have a responsibility to take action to drastically improve the Black experience in America. 

“It is serious and challenging work, but I get up every day excited to make a difference and strive to leave the world better than when I found it,” said Cole. “It is also incredibly meaningful that a program like this even exists and makes me proud to be at PwC, who is one of the co-founders of CEO Action. ”

Cole shared how he uses his Ross learnings on an everyday basis with the fellowship. 

“The strategy lessons help me think about the ‘why’ and the big picture, the overarching goals and impact, and approach,” he explained. “The marketing courses are also critical as we consider how to create programs that will help materially change outcomes for Black Americans, how to size, design and deliver programs, and how to measure success.”

Cole has been working closely with other fellows to help identify and develop new ideas to close these major racial equity gaps, which are organized around four major pillars: economic empowerment, education, healthcare, and public safety. He specifically works in the healthcare pillar and collaborates with other fellows on a number of ideas.  

“In healthcare, we are looking at a wide range of potential issues to address, such as helping close the life expectancy gap, improving access to care, and leveraging technology to deliver services in new and innovative ways,” he said.

As a member of the Ross Alumni Board of Governors, Cole also praises the actions that Michigan Ross is taking to advance diversity and inclusion efforts at the business school and beyond. 

“I am proud of Ross’ steps to improve this reality through the Ross Commitment to Action,” he said. “The time spent with leaders at Ross and on the Ross Alumni Board of Governors helped me dig into this issue. It opened my aperture in a major way and I am so grateful for the insights I gained while building my point of view.”