It was a good opportunity to create a school-wide association - not just within the MBA - and offer a new perspective for classmates
Most students only know Emric Navarre from the way he led the class through the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is otherwise a private, quiet person. In fact, a classmate who sat next to Emric for a whole term came across his LinkedIn profile a year later; she sarcastically joked that she had sat next to a different Emric. She had no idea that he was an aviator, a former military officer in American Special Operations, and a satellite operator and GPS Modernization and Training Director for the US Space Program.
When he’s asked if there’s anything else about him that might be interesting, he simply answered: “I favor the color green. I like to listen to K-pop; I prefer to watch comedies. I can hold my own at Mario Kart and am a Pokémon Master. And I think there are things that need to be taken seriously, but for everything else there’s sarcasm.”
There’s so much more that he’s left unsaid. Emric also has done humanitarian work, helping children gain access to education by tutoring them for school entrance exams. He also recently created a new association: the HEC Handicap and Disability Association.
“I had the privilege to work with some amazing people who were disabled and had been through some very tough times. But they came to work every day and generally were even more driven than most. There’s a profound misunderstanding about what disability means and how prevalent disabilities can be. In fact, we have classmates who are disabled, but most people would never know it.
“A lot of HEC’s clubs focus on expanding personal opportunities. There are clubs that talk about diversity: Women in Leadership, LGBTQ and a few others. But nothing about disability, which affects about 37 percent of the world. Only about 1 percent of the population needs a wheelchair, but I think that’s what most people associate with the word ‘disability’.
“As a result, I thought this was a good opportunity to create a school-wide association--not just within the MBA--and offer a new perspective for classmates. There’s a lot of talk and excitement about business impact so hopefully this can start a conversation, offer new information and increase inclusivity.
“In the end, Soline Toussaint (a Grand Ecole student) and I talked with the school, created the student association and here we are. The pandemic is making things more complicated, but hopefully there are students willing to get involved and make a lasting change.”
--Emric Navarre, American, September ’19 intake, Class of 2021