From World Traveler to Classroom Godmother

Experience / Grant worked for multi-million dollar companies like Airmatic, Inc. / Liz Monroy / el Don

International business professor Madeline Grant has gained a cult-following as students appreciate her nurturing teaching style

 By Joanna Meza

Madeline Grant speaks with her hands. The business professor begins most discussions with the news — Facebook’s new app, international conflicts and even sale coupons — waving her arms in a whirlwind, a gesture revealing her enthusiasm.

“What else is going on?” she asks.

Grant lets current events guide her daily lectures, relating them to her own experiences as an international businesswoman.

“She points out funny stories of her own mistakes. It’s a very good method to keep us awake,” student Daniel Mezo said.

Grant began teaching part-time at Santa Ana College in 1987 while forging a business career.

Multi-million dollar companies including Seaquest, Airmatic, Inc. and Motherhood Maternity are just a few of the bullets on her resume.

Those companies sent Grant on business trips around the globe, forcing her to split her time between the classroom and travel.

“You have to have a stomach of steel when going into international business,” Grant said.

She traveled to Europe, Asia and Africa, packing those experiences into her suitcase and bringing them back to her students. After years of constant globe-trotting, Grant decided to settle and begin teaching full-time.

“She knew what she wanted to do and where she wanted to go,” Ronnie Grant, her husband, said of his wife’s decision.

Grant’s goal is to help students find their passions so that they can start working towards careers they love. “I feel more like a mother and godmother than role model,” Grant said.

Her father also taught math at SAC for 30 years.

Grant’s teaching style has developed a loyal following, with many students taking a number of her sections.

“Seeing her name next to the class encourages me more,” said Leslie Martinez, who is taking her third class with Grant. “She’s very energetic, outgoing and funny.”

Helping students find direction in their lives is both important and rewarding to Grant.

“There are good days and bad days in every job, but we live for those good days,” she said.

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