Thato G. Ratsebe ’05 M’08
Journalism and Mass Communication
Master of Science in Administration & Management
Association of Africans Living in Vermont
Programs Manager and Assistant Director
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am from Botswana and came to the US in 2001 to pursue a higher education. Since graduating, I have worked internationally in East Africa and Canada. I currently work with a team that serves all refugees and immigrants who resettle in Vermont.
Tell us about your Saint Michael’s College experience.
St. Michael’s inspired me to be of service to others. My involvement with student organizations such as MOVE and Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC), helped me define my next steps after I graduated. I met professors and other professionals who were dedicated to providing a wholistic approach to the student learning process. This influenced my view of life- that we don’t live for ourselves. Service to me is vocation. This was nurtured by the incredible community that St. Mike’s builds.
What advice would you give to female students?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s part of learning. Aspire to be in leadership positions. It empowers you to make decisions that help you achieve both your personal and professional goals. In whatever you pursue, remember, relationships matter. Build and maintain professional relationships that you can benefit and also learn from. Be part of a community. Live your life with purpose.
What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?
Look for opportunities for growth wherever you are. Clearly communicate your desires to assume leadership roles, be mentored and also be willing to learn. Networking is key. Stay in touch with other women in leadership roles, seek advice and apply it. Continuous education to sharpen your leadership skills is key.
What keeps you motivated and driven on a daily basis?
Serving other people motivates me to do what I do. When I see people coming from refugee camps, and starting all over in a new environment, coming from different culture and values and yet still get excited to live, I get encouraged to do what I do. I also work with an incredibly talented and dedicated group of individuals who simply won’t give up until people are helped. I am blessed.
What woman most inspires you and why?
Unity Dow, the first woman judge in Botswana who is now Botswana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. I have observed her move up the ranks with humility and dedication to serving the nation of Botswana, as well as challenging the status quo without hesitation. She has achieved all of this by hard work. She is also a publisher. She recently started a school and is working to build relationships with international higher education institutions to enhance global learning. She is accessible and always willing to help others.