Elaine Dang

Job Title
Summer Associate
McKinsey & Company
University of California—Berkeley
Yale School of Management
Corps Year: 
Corps Region: 
New Mexico

Elaine’s views on inequity were shaped early on as an elementary school student growing up in public housing. She and her neighbor entered school on the same level, but were put on different tracks simply because Elaine was Asian American and her friend was African American. Elaine was encouraged to make career choices where she could earn a high salary. But at Berkeley, she realized that TFA was an organization trying to change things in ways that could have changed her family’s situation. Teaching taught her that any obstacle can be overcome when you invest others in big goals and have high expectations, principles she applied in her work at startups in Kenya, and continues to live by as she combats inequity in the business world.

Read more about Elaine.

Career Path

Teach For America: New Mexico Corps
By holding them to high expectations and working hard together, Elaine’s students moved from second-to-last to first place in the district.
Social Innovation in Kenya
Elaine worked at education and tech startups in Kenya. One focused on creating opportunities for high need communities, the other on preventing brain drain by developing food and nightlife culture.
Westgate Mall Terrorist Attack Survivor
A near-death experience made Elaine reflect on her talents and what she wanted to give back to the world. She returned to the U.S. and after recruiting teachers on TFA’s staff, she enrolled at Yale.
Fellowship at Learn Capital
Elaine helped Learn Capital, a venture capital firm that works with companies that are trying to close the global equity gap, with diversity talent recruitment.
Summer Associate, McKinsey
As Elaine works toward completing her MBA in 2017, she is exploring innovation and strategy consulting. Her goal is to help prepare companies be more equitable and sustainable.

Q & A

What have your experiences taught you about creating social change?

I am a firm believer that social change is more effective when led from within. People from the community need to lead the change, and people coming from the outside can help and support.

What were the most important skills and talents that you gained from your corps experience?

I learned that if I invested students in the “why” behind our lessons and held them to the highest expectations, they could overcome any obstacle. This applies to my work today. My students changed the way I view the world and what I want to do with my life. Everything I do is shaped by them.

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