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More than Education

A series of calculated risks has led to career success for Freddy Mawyin

Freddy Mawyin posing in from of Topeka city hall

(Freddy Mawyin, mba ’17, poses in front of Topeka’s City Hall. He became chief financial officer of the city in January 2023. Photo by Jeremy Wangler)

From The Ichabod - Fall 2023
By Annie Flachsbarth

When you think of an idyllic American story, you may imagine a tale like that of Freddy Mawyin, mba ’17. Born in the U.S. by accident, Mawyin grew up a U.S. citizen in Ecuador before coming to the States to find his way.

Before he was born, Mawyin’s Ecuadorian parents came to New York City on a working visa. His pregnant mother intended to fly home to give birth, but the airline wouldn’t let her travel in her third trimester. She delivered Mawyin in the U.S. and returned to Ecuador a few days later where he grew up with his family. When he turned 18, he wanted something different.

Mawyin moved to New Jersey alone and without speaking much English. At the suggestion of his landlord who saw him struggling, he joined the U.S. Army. He served 12 years as an intelligence officer with two deployments to Iraq and Kuwait. His military tenure moved him around the country, but as luck would have it, his last stop was Topeka – which became his home and impetus for his civilian career.

Leaving military life behind, Mawyin was drawn to Washburn University. A new husband and father at the time, he was a stay-at-home dad by day and student by night. He recalls feeling an immediate connection and a sense of belonging that made his decision to pursue an MBA an easy one.

“When you’re deciding where to go to school, you take a risk,” Mawyin said. “But I felt like this was going to be more than just an education, and it turned out that way.”

From the halls of academia, Mawyin took a role with the Greater Topeka Partnership as the senior economic advisor, creating a profound impact on the local economy for six years. Despite his bonds at GTP, he felt pulled to a new venture and accepted the role of chief financial officer for the City of Topeka in January 2023, where he uses his experiences and insight to guide Topeka’s economic growth.

Freddy Mawyin posing in from of Topeka city hallMawyin’s story is not only a testament to the American dream, but also to the possibilities for those who arrive in Topeka for an opportunity and stay for the community.

“Working for organizations that are really involved within the community is significant,” Mawyin said. “Staying in Topeka was the right choice for my family.”

Mawyin’s wife, Shannon Mawyin, a nurse anesthetist, and their three daughters make up his support system, and his reason to strive for continued progress. Despite his demanding role, Mawyin remains connected with faculty and staff at Washburn.

“I leverage their guidance to help me grow as a leader – because I wasn’t just a student; they’re part of my network.”

Winter 2024 The Ichabod magazine cover with picture of the bell tower and snow fallen on campus

The Ichabod tells our story with features on alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, along with the latest campus news. View the current and past editions


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Topeka, KS 66604 Phone: 785.670.4483