Gephardt News Goldman Fellows Student News

New ChangeMaker Series hosts alumnus Marcus Brown

Marcus Brown AB ’13, MSW ’16, an alumni of the Gephardt Institute’s Goldman Fellows Program, hosted the first ChangeMaker Series event. Brown discussed with students how his time at WashU impacted his drive for community impact, and how current students can make the most of their opportunities in St. Louis.

As part of a new event series created to make meaningful connections between civic leaders who are impacting their community and current students who aspire to do the same, Marcus Brown AB ’13, MSW ’16 spoke before a crowd of students and faculty/staff about his career experience at U.S. Bank.  

His talk kicked off the Gephardt Institute’s inaugural ChangeMaker Series on Friday, Feb. 17. An alumnus of the Goldman Fellows—part of the Gephardt Institute’s St. Louis Fellowship Program—Brown now serves as assistant vice president of U.S. Bank’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy Team.  

A native of Arkansas and current resident of Chicago, Brown said that his experience at WashU and in St. Louis prepared him well to make positive impacts in any community in which he lives. 

“When I think about what WashU was able to offer me, I’m so glad that I did Goldman Fellows and that the Brown School allowed me to get out into St. Louis and see it for all the cultural history and the gems that are here,” he said.  

Brown pursued an undergraduate degree in Urban Students and continued his passion for community development through graduate school at WashU’s Brown School of Social Work. Through his Gephardt Institute and Brown School experiences, he formed his “guiding north star” of three components: Capacity building, coalition building, and collective impact.  

“What good is it to have people who have skills and knowledge and wherewithal and access to resources and they’re aligned around some shared interest or value, and not actually doing something to have real impact?” said Brown.  

After roles at Missouri Jobs with Justice, advocating for minimum wage increases, and at the Deaconess Foundation as their public policy coordinator helping grant funds to support children’s wellbeing and healthcare, Brown was recruited by U.S. Bank.  

He urged the students present to look at every opportunity, and to not shy away from the challenges of making change in large institutions.  

“I’m the person who was in the streets, as a community organizer, like screaming into the night at institutions like a bank…to then find myself in one was a very unique experience,” said Brown. “But I shared it with you all, to not discount these opportunities. You have an opportunity to change the narrative…from the inside out.  

“They need that perspective. They need you at that table.”