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Alumnus, Brady Harris, is America's Third Highest Rated CEO

Congratulations to Brady Harris, MIAGE graduate and former CEO of Eliot Management Group (EMG), for being awarded the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award for Third Highest Rated CEO at Small & Medium Companies in 2017! This prestigious award demonstrates excellence in employee satisfaction. According to Glassdoor, the average rating for CEO approval is 67 percent for the 600,000+ employers reviewed on Glassdoor; Brady’s employee approval rating is 99 percent, a percentage shared only by six other CEOs in his category.

When asked what this award means to him, Brady shared, “Personally [this award] validates that all of your leadership efforts are noticed and valued by employees. As a leader, it can be really lonely when you feel like you are making unpopular decisions and tough choices, and it is really easy to lose confidence and wonder if you are making an impact or not. The feedback is a huge validation.” Glassdoor co-founder and CEO, Robert Hohman, explains, “CEOs tell us the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award is one of the highest honors they can receive because it truly reflects employee opinion about the job they do every day. . .We know that CEO approval ratings correlate to overall employee satisfaction and trust in senior leadership, which contributes to long-term employee engagement,” (2017-06-20 Press Release). Just as Robert Hohman observed, this award demonstrates trust among CEO and employees.

Brady’s strong empathy for employees in all positions of EMG, one reason that they trust him so much, is rooted in his own humble beginnings with the company. When Brady first started as a 21 year-old commissioned employee with EMG in 2001, he was newly married and slept on his manager’s couch due to tight finances. Brady learned what it was like to not know when the next paycheck would arrive or to hope an account would close before rent was due. When reflecting on this experience, Brady emphasized that, “empathy is an incredible platform to lead. When leaders are able to relate to front-line employees . . . people can sense that authenticity.” Empathy as a leader has lead Brady to build trust with his employees which has allowed them to feel comfortable giving feedback. For Brady, one of the biggest mistakes leaders make is forgetting where they started and where employees currently are.

Another leadership quality that Brady emphasizes is to create open channels of communication. In the Glassdoor publication, “Recruit Talent in Today’s Market: Actionable Advice from Top Company Leaders,” Brady explains that, “Above all else, this has been my leadership philosophy: to have open relationships and open channels of communication with every level of your workforce. Employees know the struggles of the business, they want to be heard, they want to be validated in what they face day in and out. I try to encourage these open relationships by having an open weekly President’s book club, by visiting offices in person, in calling random employees to introduce myself and to congratulate on strong performance, and by forming committees with employees at all levels and departments. This ultimately breeds trust and confidence between executives and employees.” Brady’s journey from sleeping on a couch to becoming one of the highest rated CEOs in the country took many twists and turns. Brady stayed with EMG through a decade of rapid growth and expansion, holding such prestigious positions as District Sales Manager and Regional Sales Director. In 2009, Brady left EMG to “re-find” himself outside of the company. He went back to school, receiving an Associate’s then two Bachelor degrees in Russian and International Studies. As an undergraduate, Brady worked for the U.S. National Guard as an Army interrogator. Following graduation, he entered the Master of International Affairs & Global Enterprise (MIAGE) program at the University of Utah. During his last semester of the MIAGE program, the board of EMG approached him with an offer to become the next Executive Vice President of Sales for the company. From there, Brady transitioned into the President and CEO position.

Looking back at his experience in the MIAGE program, Brady acknowledged that the MIAGE program helped, “provide a technical foundation - specific to business and leadership - and sound disciplinary knowledge that have been a huge foundation to help me grow in the business.” For example, while working on projects, he would fall back on financial models that the late Dr. Steve Reynolds taught him or leadership skills that he learned from former Professor Maxine Margaritis. His favorite course was Advanced Mediation & Negotiation at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, which conducted role plays in negotiation scenarios. Brady shares that overall the MIAGE program, “gives you a great technical background that you can springboard into other things.” Brady is an incredible example of this.

You can read more about his Brady’s exciting journey and leadership advice from one of his many publications, including “Actionable Advice from Top CEOs” and “Report: Inspirational, high-touch CEOs attract top job candidates.”

August 2017

Alumnus, Chandler Jordana, Becomes Executive Director and Development Director of Two Nonprofits

Chandler JordanaCongratulations to Chandler Jordana, recent MIAGE alumnus, for his appointment as Executive Director of the Sobriety Foundation and Development Director of the Ouelessebougou Alliance! The Sobriety Foundation is a nonprofit that helps adults in Utah with substance abuse disorders find successful, sustained recovery from drug and/or alcohol dependence. The Ouelessebougou Alliance works in partnership with local villagers to transform the quality of life in the Ouelessebougou region of Mali, West Africa by delivering sustainable programs in health and education.

August 2017

Alumnus, Kirk Galster, Founds Global Strategy Consulting Services, LLC

Kirk GalsterCongratulations to MIAGE alumnus, Kirk Galster, who recently founded Global Leadership Strategy Consulting Services, LLC! Global Strategy Consulting Services, LLC (GSCS) is a consulting service offering strategic solutions to meet their client’s global expansion, business development, and market entry goals.

August 2017

Alumnus, Macote Ambrozio, Opens Macote Entrepreneur Center in Guinea-Bissau

Macote Ambrozio, hasn't slowed down one bit since graduating from the MIAGE program. The inauguration of the Macote Entrepreneur Center in Guinea-Bissau took place on May 30. The center has been featured on Guinea-Bissau's national T.V. station (TGB) for its focus on teaching English and business principles (entrepreneurship) in an effort to reduce poverty in Guinea-Bissau. Undergraduate and graduate students can apply for semester internships at the community business center. Learn more here.

June 2017

Alumnus, Kyle Gray, Publishes Second Business Book

The Story Engine book by Kyle GrayCongratulations to Alumnus, Kyle Gray for another successful book release! Kyle Gray recently published his second business book, The Story Engine: An entrepreneur's guide to content strategy and brand storytelling without spending all day writing. Both Kyle's books boast five-star ratings and are currently available for free if you have kindleunlimited.

Kyle's book is available on

May 2017


CarineAlumnus Spotlight: Noah Stephenson

Hometown: Several! Born in Duluth, MN, raised in South Carolina, spent some time in Austin, TX and Grand Junction, CO. 
Graduated: 2011
Career: Account Executive at Peek over British Columbia
Languages: English, German
Favorite MIAGE Course: International Law with Amos Guiora

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that life doesn’t just happen to you, you have to make life happen.” Noah Stephenson certainly practices what he preaches. After completing a Bachelor’s of Political Science at Utah Valley University and spending a summer in Belgium, he knew he wanted to make an international career for himself.

Noah was drawn to MIAGE because of the interdisciplinary opportunities it afforded him. "It was great to work with faculty and students from all different departments. People in law communicate and think differently than people in business. Understanding those differences has helped me a lot." 

While still completing his MIAGE degree, Noah was hired at Vista Staffing Solutions. As an international account manager he was responsible for handling contracts with hospitals for short-term physicians. Noah says he was given this position because of MIAGE: "the role required a lot of price negotiation with Australia, and they specifically wanted someone with familiarity beyond the US." 

After five successful years with Vista, Noah is continuing to create new and exciting opportunities for himself. He recently decided to switch industries and pursue software sales with a promising new tech company called Peek Pro. This “tech travel” start-up is headed by one of the most powerful people in the industry, Ruzwana Bashir, according to Forbes. Peek will soon be opening an office in London, where Noah intends to relocate.

Noah’s advice to current students:

“Education is a wonderful thing, but it’s not just about graduating with a Master’s degree—you have to be able to articulate in an interview how the MIAGE degree will add value to their company in unique ways. This is the key to unlocking opportunities for employment and career advancement.”

Best of luck with the new job, Noah!  

Learn more about Peek 


CarineAlumna Spotlight: Carine Foly

Home Country: Togo
Graduated: 2011
Career: Casework Manager, International Rescue Committee
Languages: French, English
Favorite MIAGE Courses: International Humanitarian Law with Erika George ; Foundations in International Affairs and Global Enterprise with Dr. Stephen Reynolds; International Management with Dr. Lee Boam; Management of Nonprofit Organizations 

When Carine Foly began the MIAGE program, she was torn between pursuing international business and international humanitarian aid. After a few of her MIAGE courses and internships with both World Trade Center Utah and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), she knew what was right for her.

"I loved my non-profit management classes. And I loved case studies of different NGOs and learning about why they worked or why they failed in providing aid. I think I always wanted to do humanitarian work, but interning with IRC finally helped me realize it. There are so many people out there in need, and I get to help them everyday at my current job."

Today, Carine supervises a team of about 12 case workers and 15 interns at IRC at any given time. Together, they serve over 1,000 refugees in the Salt Lake area from all over the world, including Sudan, Congo, Iraq, Burma, Iran, and North Korea. Most of the employees on Carine's team are former refugees themselves, and together they help some of Salt Lake's most marginalized populations become self-sufficient. 

Carine is especially passionate about supporting women refugees: 

"Refugee women face greater challenges than men. They tend to have fewer language skills, education, lower income, and the added burden of childcare." 

Carine recently participated in a panel discussion at the University of Utah, offering her expertise on women refugees and the services they most need. 

Though her work is very challenging, Carine loves what she does. 

"I'll see families in grocery stores or out in the community that I have worked with and have become self-sufficient. It's so rewarding to see that happening. They usually remember me and are so thankful for the difference we have been able to make in their lives by helping them in their resettlement."

In the future, Carine would like to pursue international opportunities with IRC.

"The International Rescue Committee responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic well being, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster in over 40 countries throughout the world and 26 US cities. I'm very interested in working overseas with refugees and being part of the refugee processing and admission into the US."

To learn more about International Rescue Committee, visit

 Kyle Gray Featured in Foundr Magazine

Alumnus Kyle Gray is the founder of Conversion Cake, a content management service that helps small businesses and startups develop and promote more effective content, enabling them to reach a broader audience and increase their customer base. Kyle was recently featured in Foundr Magazine, an online publication and digital media business for young entrepreneurs. 

kyle gray foundr

                                      Source: Foundr

Carine Foly Participates in Panel on Women Refugees

MIAGE alumna Carine Foly is a casework supervisor for the Salt Lake office of the International Rescue Committee. She recently participated in a panel discusssion at the University of Utah's Lowell Bennion Community Center on the challenges facing women refugees. Read the full article here


                            Source: KSL News

                                                                            Alumnus Spotlight: Kyle Gray

kyle gray                                                                                       Hometown: Park City Utah
                                                                                                           Graduated: 2014
                                                   Current Position: Founder of Conversion Cake
                    Countries Lived In: Chile, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, and Thailand

Tracking down Kyle Gray is no easy task. Since completing the MIAGE program in 2014, Kyle has been an adjunct Professor, a content marketing manager, and the founder of his own start-up. While continuing to run his company, Conversion Cake, Kyle has also developed an online course to help graduate students get the most out of their degree, which he plans to turn into a book. And he’s done all of this while living in six different countries! Though currently taking a breather in Salt Lake City, he plans to move to Colombia in a few weeks.

Kyle was drawn to MIAGE because of the vast network of academic and professional resources it afforded him. An entrepreneur at heart, he took full advantage of resources like the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and the Foundry, a business accelerator program which actually hired Kyle as an adjunct professor right after he graduated. One of Kyle’s favorite MIAGE courses was Social Entrepreneurship with Professor Jay Barney, where he traveled to Peru to work hands on with small business owners.

Kyle is extremely passionate about entrepreneurship, and he urges students to pursue their own small businesses. “There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity out there, and there are so many ways to help people and add value to their lives. Don’t be afraid to start a small business online. Do it while you’re still in school. Get your hands dirty!” He certainly practices what he preaches. Kyle began his company Conversion Cake while still a MIAGE student. His company provides content marketing expertise to entrepreneurs trying to expand their businesses. With Conversion Cake, small businesses are able to make their websites more user-friendly, increase traffic, and improve content.

Kyle believes that the University experience can be a transformative time in anyone’s life, and he urges MIAGE students to take full advantage of the tools available to them. "The best thing about being a student is having the title of 'student.' Many people are happy and honored to help students in their education if given the opportunity. So make your schoolwork an opportunity reach out to your favorite author, scientist, athlete, politician or hero.

Recent articles featuring Kyle: 
Alumni Viewpoint: 5 Tips for Student Success
Overcome Your Doubters Today: 13 Super Successful Entrepreneurs Share Their Stories


Alumna Spotlight: Megan Hillyard

Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
Graduated: 2011
Current Position: Associate Director of Administrative Services, Mayor Ben McAdams' Office (Salt Lake City)

While deciding to apply for the MIAGE program, I found myself struggling over whether it was the right program for me. My heart told me to go for MIAGE because of the cross-disciplinary opportunities and the tie-in to international relations, which is a real passion of mine. However, since I was already working in local government at Salt Lake County, I kept questioning if it was more practical to get an MPA. I’m glad I decided to go with my instinct.

The curriculum was the first thing that drew me to MIAGE. The program gave me the opportunity to explore non-profit, government, and private-sector tracks. What became abundantly clear during my first couple of semesters is there are many intersections between these three groups. I learned that non-profits needed to increasingly function like private business, private businesses were focusing on increased social responsibility and government was somewhere in the middle. I loved being part of conversations that challenged traditional roles.

When I began my MIAGE degree, I assumed I would transition from my government job to either the non-profit or private sector. However, as I progressed in my degree my opinion about government, and the influence I could have, evolved. Since the MIAGE program I have moved through three different positions at Salt Lake County, each with increasing responsibility. Currently I serve as Associate Director of the Administrative Services Department in Mayor Ben McAdams’ administration, a role that challenges me and my perceptions about government each day. I help oversee all of the county’s internal service divisions, from Human Resources, to Fleet, IT and Facilities. We are tasked with finding innovative, cost-efficient methods of delivering quality services to our customers (i.e., other agencies within the county), so they can in turn provide diverse services to the million-plus constituents of Salt Lake County. I am perhaps most proud of our current efforts to bring greater government transparency and constituent access to county services through technology, the work I’ve done on the impending multi-million dollar District Attorney Buildings, and my efforts to promote Active Transportation within the county.

I’ve found the structure of MIAGE to be similar to life outside of the classroom. Just as I was given the opportunity to try my hand at law, business and public policy classes, each day at work I’m presented with various scenarios requiring adaptability, data synthesis, relationships with diverse stakeholders and an eye towards innovation.

Thank you MIAGE for challenging my assumptions and helping me realize how interesting local government can be. 


Alumnus Casey Coombs Freed from Captivity in Yemen

Since February 2012, Casey Coombs has been living and working in Yemen as a freelance journalist, covering a breadth of international issues including human trafficking, the kidnapping of foreigners, and the Houthi rebel group's takeover of the Yemeni government. Most recently, he reported the challenges he and other Americans were facing in trying to leave Yemen. In mid-May, shortly after publishing this article, Casey was taken from his home and held hostage by the Houthis. He was held for two weeks and suffered a serious back injury before State Department officials negotiated his release. After recovering in Oman, he returned to the States and underwent a successful back surgery. Casey now begins the long road to recovery as he rebuilds his life in the US. Donations can be made here. We celebrate Casey's safe return home and wish him the best.
Read the full story from @theU.

Read the initial report from the New York Times. 


Tristan Abbott

Hometown: Sunnyside, Washington
Languages: English, Spanish
Graduated: 2015
Favorite course: Mediation and Advanced Negotiations with James Holbrook
Current work: Compliance Communications Manager for Progrexion Marketing

Tristan received his B.A. in English Literature with a minor in International Business from Montana State University. While in Montana, Tristan worked as a liaison officer for the Australian Trade Minister at the 2011 APEC conference, and he also worked as a rating guide on the Yellowstone River. Tristan joined the MIAGE program to take advantage of its connections to many different departments in the University, and he has focused his studies on international communications and international relations. During his graduate program, Tristan worked as a communications intern at the Office of the Mayor in Salt Lake City.  He now works at an international marketing firm in Salt Lake City called Progrexion. As a Compliance Communications Manager, he works closely with the marketing and legal departments to ensure that all outgoing communications follow regulatory and legal guidelines. 




Carissa Bradley

Hometown: Chico, California
Languages: English, Portuguese, and Spanish
Graduated: 2015
Favorite course: International Management with Dr. Boam
Current work: Director of Special Committees and Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Sandy Chamber of Commerce

Carissa received her BA in History with a minor in Law and Economics. She served an LDS mission in Brazil where she developed a passion for promoting economic and social growth. Carissa is an avid traveler; during her MIAGE program, Carissa participated in a study abroad trip focused on economic development in Peru. For now, Carissa is applying her skills in her local community. She current works as the Director of Special Committees and Young Entrepreneurs Academy for the Sandy Chamber of Commerce. 

adamAlumnus Spotlight: Adam Vaughn

Hometown: Orem, UT
Graduated: 2013
Current Position: Account Manager at Lizard Skins

MIAGE students we naturally think BIG. Many of us seek careers in politics, the State Department, FBI, Fortune 500…the list goes on. But in hindsight, I would say never underestimate the opportunities available with small, high-growth companies.
I get to wear many hats within the baseball division of Lizard Skins and have influence in important decisions. I’m an Account Manager for several hundred B2B baseball accounts, I train and manage a dozen outside sales reps all over the country in addition to my personal sales, and I’m involved with marketing by creating catalog, newsletter and social media content. If anything, MIAGE teaches you to adapt. I never hesitate taking on new challenges because I know how to fill in the gaps of what I don’t know. It comes with the territory. 

MIAGE prepared me well for the high level writing and statistical analyses required in my work. You can never emphasize quantitative literacy enough. The law perspective has also been useful since I’ve participated in some of the contract writing for our player endorsements. Language skills have also been essential. I’ve been able to open some doors in Italy and Mexico as we’ve started to turn toward international markets in baseball. International trade logistics and international exchange rates have also been important topics to understand for daily operations.

It’s an exciting place to be and if feels great to be relied on for the very broad skill set that MIAGE offers.        
Lizard Skins is a sports equipment manufacturer specializing in grips, gloves, and other accessories for the baseball and cycling industries. They distribute in 84 countries and have endorsements with Major League Baseball players and top cycling teams and riders. Learn more here


Where Has MIAGE Taken Students? 

International Positions

  • CHOICE Humanitarian, Bolivia
  • Chulkalongkorn University, Thailand
  • C-L Ukrainia Ltd, Ukraine
  • Elbert Vagedes Abogados, Argentina
  • Yemen (freelance journalist)
  • IBM, Slovakia
  • International Center for Policy Studies, Ukraine
  • Ivano-Grankivsk City Council, Ukraine
  • MAITRI, India
  • Peace Corps, Panama
  • QForma Inc., Ukraine
  • Sanergy, Kenya
  • Parliament, Scotland
  • US Embassy, El Salvador
  • US Embassy, Madrid
  • US Embassy, Rome
  • Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Peru

U.S. Positions, Utah

  • Alpha Warranty Services
  • American Express
  • ARUP Laboratories
  • Catholic Charities
  • ClearWater Law and Governance Group LLC
  • Cybersource Corporation
  • Department of Workforce Services
  • Dyno Nobel
  • Eliot Management Group
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Global Medical Staffing
  • Governor's Office of Ecconomic Development, Transitions for Refugee Youth
  • Hill Air Force Base
  • inContact
  • Interim Physicians
  • Intermountain Communications and Advocacy
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Lizard Skins
  • Mayor Ben McAdams' Office
  • Moran Eye Center
  • Morinda
  • Park City School District
  • Parsons, Behle, and Latimer
  • Peony by Stella Bridal Designs
  • Pierre Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute
  • Progrexion International Marketing
  • Salt Lake County
  • SafeSplash Swim Schools
  • Sandy Chamber of Commerce
  • SelectHealth Learning Services
  • Sorenson Global Impact Investing Center
  • State of Utah
  • University of Utah
  • US Air Force
  • US Army
  • Utah AFL-CIO
  • Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy
  • Governor's Office of Economic Development, International Trade and Diplomacy Office
  • Governor's Office of Economic Development, State Trade and Export Promotion
  • Utah National Guard
  • Utah Nonprofits Association
  • The Utah US Export Assistance Center, US Commercial Service
  • Vista Staffing Solutions, Inc
  • Women of the World
  • World Trade Center, Utah


U.S. Positions, Outside Utah

  • CTK Biotech Inc., San Diego
  • Decision Lens, San Francisco
  • The Diplomatic Courier, NYC
  • Expeditors International, San Diego
  • The Heritage Foundation, Washington DC
  • Hewlett-Packard, Texas
  • IHS Global Insight, Washington DC
  • International Institute for Strategic Studies, Washington DC
  • NationBuilder, Los Angeles
  • National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington DC
  • SWCA Environmental Consultants
  • Wells Fargo
  • World Trade Center, San Diego
  • Yale Divinity School, Connecticut
Last Updated: 12/14/17