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Vanderbilt Executive MBA Nonprofit Scholarship Awarded to Executive Director of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network

May 4, 2022
Misty Leitsch awarded a 2-year scholarship to Vanderbilt Executive MBA program

By Arial Starks

Misty Leitsch

Misty Leitsch, Executive Director of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) has been awarded a full-tuition scholarship to the Vanderbilt Executive MBA program.

Leitsch was chosen by the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management to receive the 2-year nonprofit scholarship, awarded each academic year and valued at more than $125,000.

“It’s a dream come true to first of all get my MBA, and the icing on the cake is it will be from Vanderbilt,” said Leitsch. “The hard work and dedication that I put into applying for this is paying off. Just to be considered for this scholarship is life-changing. I’m speechless whenever I really think about it.”

“I am especially pleased to have Misty representing the voice of nonprofits in the Executive MBA classroom,” said  Juli Bennett, Executive Director, Executive MBA Programs. “The work she is doing with TSPN is particularly relevant during this time, when the pandemic has increased feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression for so many. Our hope is for Misty to elevate her strategic leadership and business skills, resulting in having even greater impact in our community and also heightening the awareness of business leaders to the need for mental health and suicide prevention resources.” 

Leitsch moved into a full-time position with TSPN as Zero Suicide Director in 2015, earning a promotion to Executive Director in late 2020. She was first introduced to the TSPN while working with another nonprofit right out of college. After filling in at a TSPN meeting at a co-worker’s request, she began subbing in other meetings as a volunteer.

“I remember being very nervous before that first meeting, and then the room filled with individuals who were so passionate and dedicated and ingrained in the work of suicide prevention that it moved my heart, and I knew this is where I was supposed to be,” said Leitsch.

Vanderbilt launched the nonprofit scholarship program in partnership with the Center for Nonprofit Management in 2006 to provide deserving prospective candidates in the nonprofit sector with career assistance each year. Leitsch was chosen from a pool of executives and senior staff members of 501(c)(3) organizations who have demonstrated strong commitment to serving in nonprofits.

“Even though I have years of experience and 2 bachelor’s degrees, I feel that the opportunity to apply for this scholarship was incredible,” said Leitsch. “It’s always been a personal dream of mine to earn my MBA and grow as a professional and develop into a leader who can make impactful change.”

To learn more about scholarship opportunities for Executive MBA candidates, click here.

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