I cannot wait to begin working with our partners at NatureSeekers and DORCAS Women’s Group in Trinidad with the assistance of Amizade and PittBusiness!! Before I discuss why I chose to join the Trinidad team, I would like to give you a look into what my college journey has consisted of to this point.

My name is Zach Gordon, and I am a third-year Finance major at the University of Pittsburgh. Besides a degree in Finance, I am also pursuing certificates in Leadership and Ethics and Data Analytics. In addition, I have also studied abroad in Costa Rica where I was fortunate enough to learn about their Ecotourism, Coffee Bean and Banana Industries as well the ecological solutions the country has implemented to achieve carbon neutrality.

While my education through the core business courses at PittBusiness have given me a great foundation, I feel that the courses that prepared me most for this project were the experience based I have taken through the Certificate Program in Leadership and Ethics and the Certificate in Data Analytics. Through these courses, I have been able to get firsthand consulting experience working with clients of different organizational structure and size. Additionally, since neither program is major-specific, these courses have given me the opportunity to work on projects centered around many different aspects of an organization such as marketing plans, financial analysis, and early-stage growth.

Outside of the classroom, I stay involved on campus through a handful of student-run organizations and athletics. Though I am an avid fan of the Division 1 basketball team, I currently play and serve as an executive board member (Treasurer) for the lacrosse team at Pitt. I am also a member of Pitt Student Ventures, a club that focuses on current events in Private Equity, Venture Capitalism, and the Financial World in general, and the League of Emerging Analytics Professionals, a club that introduces students to analytical techniques and software as well as professionals in the industry. I was also recently accepted into Incline Consulting Group at Pitt where I will be getting to consult for local nonprofits in the Pittsburgh area.

One of the main reasons I am excited to work with the team in Trinidad and here at Pitt is that it will be my first time getting international consulting experience. My career goal is to go into Financial Services Consulting and see where the profession takes me. I took a large step towards accomplishing this goal last semester when I signed on to work with Ernst & Young’s Pittsburgh branch for this upcoming summer as a Financial Services Consulting Intern. I look forward to seeing how international consulting differs from working domestically. More importantly, I cannot wait to see what I can learn from the teams at NatureSeekers, DORCAS Women’s Group, and Amizade!

Next, I will give an overview of our team’s objectives for the project. This semester the Trinidad Team in the International Consulting Program at PittBusiness will be working with DORCAS Women’s Group and NatureSeekers with the assistance of Amizade. DORCAS Women’s group is an organization focused on helping develop the community economically while keeping ethics at the forefront of their approach. NatureSeekers, on the other hand, is also a nonprofit organization in Trinidad, but its focus slightly differs from DORCA’s. NatureSeekers began as an organization with the sole goal of reducing sea turtle poaching and slaughtering at local beaches. As the organization has seen success over time, they decided to expand their operations to ecotourism with the goal of creating a more inclusive and hands-on approach to conservation. Amizade is an organization that works with communities across the world to coordinate projects like ours. Over the course of the semester, our team at Pitt will be working closely with Amizade’s local liaisons in Trinidad.

This semester, our project will be centered around assisting DORCA Women’s Group and NatureSeekers continue to progress along their 10-year plans by working to develop stronger community outreach and build the foundation of a revamped Marketing Plan. To make our recommendations, our team plans to work closely with our contacts in Trinidad to get an idea of what their current progress is in their 10-year plan and see what specific ideas they have going forward. Additionally, we plan to look at similar organizations and see what steps they took to obtain their success and longevity in the nonprofit space.

Personally, I am very excited to begin working with the teams at PittBusiness, the International Consulting Program, Amizade, DORCA, and NatureSeekers this semester. As I mentioned earlier, I have had the incredible opportunity to gain consulting experience through many of my courses and student organizations to this point. I loved my last study abroad program in Costa Rica, and I have been eager to travel ever since. So, when I found out that there is a program at Pitt that gives me the opportunity to combine my love of experiencing new cultures and consulting, I applied immediately.

During the semester, I am hoping to gain a unique professional experience that will enhance my consulting skillset as I enter an internship in the space this summer. In addition, I am equally, if not more, excited to learn about the great culture of Trinidad and Tobago. While the experience may not be same as it was in years past, I am hoping the virtual landscape of our project due to the COVID-19 pandemic will give our team the chance to have more focused conversations revolving around both the project and the culture of Trinidad. In conclusion, I look forward to seeing how this project broadens my perspective on making strategic recommendations in the business world.