S14_POV_GastonAs head of the Western Union Foundation, Patrick Gaston visited eight countries in the past year, but it was his trip to Haiti that had the biggest personal impact. He was there to conduct leadership workshops with kids who had received high school scholarships through the foundation.

“I realized that those kids could have been me,” says Gaston, MBA’92.

Born and raised in Haiti, Gaston rose from the same humble roots to study business at Northeastern and launch a career in philanthropy. To make that possible, his mother found work in Boston and used Western Union to wire money home to finance the education of Gaston and his three sisters.

Since graduating from Northeastern, Gaston has focused his business career on philanthropic work—including 25 years at the Verizon Foundation and a term as senior adviser to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Since December 2012, he has been president of the Western Union Foundation, an organization dedicated to economic and educational opportunity around the world.

While the passion for his new job is personal, his business know-how is all Northeastern.

“The faculty and fellow students are tremendous, and the business fundamentals I learned have made it possible for me to influence, improve, and truly touch lives worldwide,” he says.