Making History for a Better Future

PMBA student Guidry wants to use her experience to inspire others
By Darin Estep |

When she was growing up, Victoria Guidry never heard much encouragement about going to college. And she didn’t learn anything in high school about financial literacy.

She has since learned plenty about both topics, and she is using that knowledge to close gaps and inspire others. As she pursues her Professional MBA degree with a marketing concentration, she has big ambitions to do more – putting into action UC Riverside’s consistent status as the top university in the nation for social mobility.

Reflecting recently on the meaning of Women’s History Month, Guidry spoke not just in historic terms but about working toward a better future: “Within my faith, when you receive a blessing, it's important to also share it, because you were given something. And now you can use it to bless others.”

As a Graduate Student Ambassador, Guidry is collaborating on a project to connect poor high school students with ambassadors who overcame difficult circumstances. The goal is to provide encouragement and examples of how to pursue opportunities. The project was inspired by her own experience growing up in Southern California.

Following the divorce of her parents, she and her mother and sister often had to move place to place. Money was tight – and there were plenty of bullies and others who resented the idea of a young Black woman with a drive to succeed.

“I’ve never been surrounded by peers who have wanted and hoped for my success,” she said. “If I was succeeding, they'd try to push me down. … It was a huge leap of faith to get into college, to get my bachelor's. And even now it just seems crazy that I'm here working on my master’s.”

Guidry never forgot the students who shared her circumstances but didn’t manage the same success. “That bugged me as I got older,” she said. “Some kids make it, but what about the ones who don't? They think that they're stuck there.”

Learning how money works

Starting out as biology major at UCR, Guidry grew increasingly interested in her economics courses. She switched her major in her fourth year and still earned her bachelor’s in economics on time. In her application to the A. Gary Anderson School of Management, she explained her fascination with how money moves through the economy.

Guidry said one of the discoveries that surprised her was how K-12 students face wide discrepancies in available resources, usually based on where they live.

“And if you don’t learn right, how are you going to improve your situation?”

Guidry said she is driven by her faith, a desire to succeed on behalf of her family, and to provide inspiration to others. Beyond the outreach program with the Graduate Student Ambassadors, she has “millions of ideas,” including creating a nonprofit to teach financial literacy to high school students. She also would like to become a senior executive who can give back to UCR students by sharing expertise.

Moving onward

This spring she plans to transition from the marketing committee of the Graduate Student Ambassadors to the professional development committee to polish her networking skills. In addition to regular coursework, she is taking professional certification courses online in data analytics. She has not ruled out a doctoral degree, but she has plenty of ideas of what might be next after completing her master’s.

“There are so many things I want to do, besides giving back and donating my time and trying to start all these programs,” she said. “My more concrete goal is going into film production marketing – which may seem crazy based on everything that I like to do. But I have a real passion for movies.”

Guidry refers to one of those movies when talking about the woman from history who inspires her: NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, whose crucial work alongside other Black women in the 1960s went largely unrecognized until the 2016 film “Hidden Figures.”

“That was a huge inspiration,” Guidry said, noting the significance of seeing examples of Black women making major contributions to science. “They helped put a man on the moon, and they didn’t receive recognition until the movie came out.”

Guidry would like to find a similar place in Women’s History, as a source of inspiration to others.

“We've come so far, but also come so little,” she said. “I want to be able to make my mark, not necessarily in a financial way, but in a hopeful way.”


Victoria Guidry (right) with UCR School of Business Executive Fellow Maria Anguelova (left) and Assistant Professor of Teaching in Management Kyle Ingram (center) on campus.