Annual Impact Report Extended Story: Transforming Struggle into Ambition

April 11, 2020


Twin Cities

Aisha Mohamed, Class of 2020 Intern at Cargill

Aisha Mohamed has traveled great distances – literally and figuratively – to get to where she is today, a first year student at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Carlson School of Management and second year intern at Cargill. Born in Kenya, Aisha’s family emigrated to Minnesota when she was just three; like many immigrant families, they initially relied on government assistance and were determined to succeed.

Flash forward to February 2020, fifteen years after Aisha and her family landed in Minnesota. Aisha is leading and facilitating a company-wide, global session called “How to Be More Efficient in Excel” as part of Cargill’s Day for Development. Aisha presented on vlookup, pivot tables, and power queries to more than 238 of her colleagues worldwide.

So, how’d she get there? Aisha’s motivation to always take on a new challenge, to always say “yes,” and to go above and beyond was rooted in her early life transition: “I value coming from a place of struggle and using it to drive your ambition.”

It’s because of those challenges that, early on in her high school internship, Aisha accepted a stretch project from her supervisor, Christopher Garner, to work within a new query system. And, she delivered: “Not only did she provide the requested data, she took the initiative to add additional data and interpreted results to the report. This was way beyond our expectations and she is now our SQL query lead, delivering new and actionable insights weekly,” said Christopher during her high school internship.

And, Christopher wasn’t the only one taking notice. Kim Kettler, a Global IT Leader at Cargill, said: “Aisha has quickly become a valued resource on our team. Not only does she deliver high quality results; she often goes above and beyond our expectations. A few of the key skills that Aisha excels in are being diligent with her assignments, having a strong sense of curiosity to learn, and having the ability to think proactively.”

The diligence, curiosity, and drive paid off. Aisha currently attends the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Carlson School of Management where she is pursuing a marketing and international business major. And, it’s no surprise that Cargill invited her back – perhaps, to lead more of those company-wide trainings.

*This story has been updated since February 2020.*

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