Alumni Voices

Difference Maker

Travis Peterson parlays career success into his passion for protecting cheetahs

Photo by Robert Hall

School of Business Administration

icon of a calendarSeptember 1, 2022

icon of a pencilBy John McTaggart

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Travis Peterson, SBA ’12, is a vision of success. He was an honors student while earning his undergraduate degree at Oakland University. He pursued and excelled in advancing his education after OU. He is giving back by becoming a mentor to students, and he is pursuing a longtime passion to help save cheetahs.

“I have been obsessed with cheetahs my entire life,” Peterson confesses. “Actually, not too long ago, my mom found a letter that I wrote to the founder of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) asking if they could arrange for me to bring a cheetah to my class for the day. I think I was about four-or-five-years old when I sent that letter. It’s been a passion that long for me.”

Peterson’s affinity for cheetahs has not waned. Over the past five years, he has spent time in Africa to see cheetahs up close, and has been a part of a slew of programs aimed at cheetah conservation and education. As an active member of CCF, Peterson launched the organization’s Michigan chapter in 2020.

“I’m so happy to be involved with CCF,” Peterson says. “I’ve been able to help out with programs like teaching farmers how to turn goat milk into powdered milk and deploying new sensors for cheetahs to help monitor the cat’s vital signs. It’s been so cool to see results come together.”

Outside of his conservation efforts with CCF, Peterson also has a rewarding job at Lear Corporation as director of sales and program management. “I’m very lucky to have found Lear,” he says. “Professionally, it has been a very exciting time. I get a chance to drive innovation and that’s a part of my career that I really enjoy.”

Peterson is also an active member of Leadership OU and the School of Business Administration ACHIEVE programs. “I’ve had some great mentors,” Peterson says. “I feel like now I’m in a position to start passing along some of what I’ve learned to others.”

Peterson explains that the balance between professional life and passions outside the office is important and one aspect that is too often overlooked. “I encourage younger people to not be afraid to volunteer in the community or help out organizations like CCF. We all have a skillset that can help in some way — don’t be afraid to use it.”

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