Anthony Monaco with the Moshi Primary School special education teachers at the grand opening of the Special Needs Education Center

A love of travel led Anthony Monaco to create a tourism company and a foundation that provide guided expeditions while also supporting projects in the locations he was trekking. When his best friend became a parent to children on the autism spectrum, Monaco (BSBA ’88) refocused his efforts on a new journey helping children with disabilities.

Anthony discusses why education, collaboration, vocational training and unique programming are vital to ensuring everyone has the ability to succeed ― and how Ohio State and Fisher set him on the path to where he is today.

Any recent accomplishments or accolades you've received?

Becoming the founder and director of the nonprofit Autism Beyond Borders, which is based in the United States with a local nongovernmental organization (NGO), Autism Beyond Borders Tanzania. Our mission is to support children, teachers and families of individuals with disabilities, with a focus on autism.

Group of six U.S. teachers and Anthony take a break outside surrounded by palm trees and native plants.
Anthony Monaco, Charlotte-Mecklenburg School teachers and Autism Beyond Borders board members take a break from a workshop in Moshi, Tanzania. 

At Autism Beyond Borders, we strive to ensure all students receive an appropriate public school education by providing autism education and classroom management and coaching, as well as sensory-related support and enrichment for teachers, therapists, communities and parents. We are a volunteer-driven organization based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, and work primarily in Tanzania. Our U.S.-based team is comprised of elementary school teachers in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System who work with and help public schools and teachers in Tanzania.

For this work, I received the high honor of Certificate of Appreciation and Accomplishment from the Moshi (Tanzania) Municipal Council, the Moshi municipal director and the mayor of Moshi.

Since graduating, what are you most proud of?

Leading the successful completion and opening of the Autism Beyond Borders Therapy, Sensory, and Conference Center at Moshi Primary School in Tanzania. Our center serves the needs of our students, teachers, college interns, parents and local organizations, creating support and awareness throughout the Moshi and surrounding Kilimanjaro region.

The center brings people together to share ideas and best practices and promotes the free exchange of information and knowledge. We are working on a sister center at a local secondary school focusing on career skills and vocational training. Both of these public schools signify our belief that every child has a right to quality education.

How did Autism Beyond Borders begin?

In 2009, I founded HGT Travels to provide high-quality guide and expedition services while employing local people. I also created the HGT Travel Foundation as a way to support local projects in the places we operated tours through charity.

In 2014 that all changed when Paul, my best friend and our lead guide, and his wife became parents of twin girls ― Vallen and Villan ― in Tanzania. When they were three years old,  I was leading a charity climb for a Kenyan NGO that supports children with disabilities. I introduced my Kenyan colleague to Paul and his wife who assessed the twins as autistic. That’s when our work in Moshi, Tanzania, began.

How has Fisher equipped, prepared you or made a difference in your career?

The well-rounded academic workload and real-world experience built through several internships at IBM and the health care company, Baxter, allowed me to hit the ground running after graduation. I felt lightyears ahead of my fellow management trainees at my first career stop.

Now for some favorites…

Favorite business school related memory? Why was it so special?

Being a first-generation college graduate, it was an Evans Scholarship that allowed me to attend Ohio State. At the university, the internship and career center made the difference for me. It allowed me to intern in accounting, finance and IT. The college resources helped get me my first “real” job and set me on the path to where I am today.

Anthony and U.S. teachers wearing colorful, printed traditional Tanzanian garments.
Following a celebration dinner, Anthony Monaco and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School teachers proudly display local Tanzanian traditional garments given to them as gifts of appreciation.

Favorite spot on campus?

The Oval. On any particular day, you could see all the diversity that Ohio State had to offer. It began my love of learning about other people, their cultures and beliefs.

What advice would you give to a current student?

Become an intern. Graduating a semester or two “late” will prepare you better for the business world and the world in general!

What's the most interesting fact about you that isn't on your resume or LinkedIn profile?

I was the Ohio State Intramural Wrestling Champion in 1986 in the 160-pound weight class.

Thanks to Fisher and Ohio State's extensive network of alumni...

I’ve been able to travel around the world and visit Ohio State friends!

What topic motivates you to action?

Education. It is the key to improving your life and gaining independence.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? How have you applied this in your life?

“Get involved; make a difference,” from my big brother at the Evans Scholars house.