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Todd Johnson

Todd Johnson

Vanderbilt MBA 2011

Senior Associate Brand Manager at Kraft Foods Group

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Johnson Sees MBA as Community Changer

Todd Johnson is literally a man on a mission.

Several years ago, the Nashville native was part of a group that built houses for the poor in Reynosa, Mexico. "Through this experience," he says, "I found an appreciation for the basic necessities that we take for granted in America." The trip also led him to a personal goal: earning an MBA so he can "give back to the community."

Vanderbilt was a natural choice not merely because it is close to home. He needed an environment "that allows my entrepreneurial spirit to flourish." Before Owen, Todd helped launch a catering company and managed a successful political campaign while rising quickly to become a retail sales manager overseeing multiple stores for Verizon Wireless.

At Owen, where he concentrated in marketing and strategy, Todd similarly immersed himself in extra challenges that included serving in student government, as an officer in two student organizations and as co-owner of the school's cafe. Ultimately, he plans to use his experience and skills to launch a nonprofit that improves opportunities for underprivileged youth.

"I believe my life's purpose is to educate, inspire and guide individuals who feel there is no way to escape unfulfilled lives," Todd says. "Obtaining an MBA from Vanderbilt establishes credibility but also creates a sense of hope in others. What better way to inspire than to set the example?"