Ambur Banner

MBA from Ashland University shifts trajectory of Ambur Banner's career in social work

Published on March 29, 2023
Social Work

Ambur Banner says her Master of Business Administration degree from Ashland University really shifted the trajectory of her career.

“Most people don’t think of a social worker as a seasoned business leader – but here I am,” said Banner, who was recently named the acting director of the Unified Government Public Health Department in Kansas City, Kansas.

“Social workers are leading in different spaces every day,” she added. “My MBA gave me the education I needed to fill in the gaps of the work I was already doing, but it also helped other leaders recognize my value – not only as a social worker, but a seasoned business leader bringing a unique skill set to a public-health setting. My MBA gives me a competitive advantage.”

Banner, who earned her MBA in 2019, started working for the UGPHD in February 2022. As the acting director, she oversees a department of 90 staff and sets the vision, strategy and operational direction for the organization.

“Our goal is to achieve equity by actively promoting policies, systems and overall community conditions that enable optimal health for all and seek to remove systemic and structural barriers that have resulted in health inequities,” Banner said. “Such barriers include poverty, racism, gender discrimination, ableism and other forms of oppression.”

That goal goes with what Banner considers her leadership style as a servant leader. Before AU, Banner’s leadership style started forming at Capital University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 2009 in clinical social work, followed by a master’s degree in social work administration in 2011 from Ohio State University. And she has nearly 13 years of experience as a public health leader.

Because she realized while working as a project manager that she hadn’t been traditionally equipped with the education to fill in some of the gaps that experience doesn’t teach, Banner said she decided to pursue an MBA.

The flexibility in class scheduling options was one of the many things she liked about the MBA program at Ashland University.

“With so many options, it’s hard not to find one that works for your situation,” she said. “Aside from my MBA, which truly set me apart as a social worker in my field, Ashland really showed me the value of building collegial relationships and remaining connected.”

Attending events, volunteering through the alumni association and purchasing spirit gear through the campus store are some of the many ways Banner said she has remained connected to AU.

She also recommends Ashland for getting an MBA.

“The curriculum is challenging and I valued that in my program,” Banner said. “Ashland made everything else as easy as possible, but they make sure you leave with the best education. When you finish, you’ll know you’re prepared to go far.”