“We keep saying that we should end up in the same retirement home in Monterey and run the place,” says Natalie Morton MBA ’86, laughing as she talks about her friends from the Institute. The group made a commitment when they graduated to try to get together every year, and they have kept their friendships strong over the three decades since graduation despite geographical distances, busy careers, and family responsibilities. “It’s almost like a sisterhood,” explains Natalie, describing very comfortable and deep friendships that transcend any petty differences that might come up in daily life.
After graduating, Natalie moved to Denver and began what would become an international business career. She had a colorful start selling satellite systems in Africa at times for cash delivered in suitcases and went on to work on policy issues related to import-export, and then, to work for a small company with business in South America and Europe. She eventually moved to Utah, where she oversaw sales in an area spanning from Japan to Australia. “I came to MIIS because I wanted an international business career, and that’s what I got!” she says.
Like Natalie, who was born and partially raised in Morocco and went to elementary school in South Africa before moving to the United States, her five close friends from the Institute all had either been raised outside the U.S. or lived abroad. Some roomed together in Monterey while others connected through class projects and social activities. In addition to Natalie (whose maiden name is Sanders), the group includes Tori Ortiz (Peters) MBA ’86, Michele Young (Grau) MBA ’86, Estela Macedo (Munoz) MBA ’86, Marianne LeTart (Segebrecht) MBA ’86, and Marlene Van (Bellone) MBA ’86.
“I just think MIIS in general brought students together whose international perspectives created a lot of camaraderie,” Natalie says, adding that other friends from the Institute sometimes join their gatherings and stay in contact. Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of their graduation and the plan, fittingly, is to celebrate that milestone in Monterey.
(For more stories about Institute students, alumni, faculty and staff, see the current issue of Communiqué.)