Graduate Program: MBA
Undergraduate Degree: BA in Business Administration, Loyola University Chicago
Agency Nonprofit Agency: Joseph and Vera Zilber Family Foundation: Program Analyst
Full-time Service Experience: I served as the Development Coordinator at New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity during my AmeriCorps year and was primarily responsible for coordinating fundraising and communications efforts. Upon completion of my service year, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and the need for safe, decent, affordable housing dramatically increased. I had the opportunity to stay with the organization and direct the development department. Over the next five years, we constructed over 250 homes in partnership with first time, low-income homeowners, raised upwards of $60M, and worked with thousands of volunteers each year. This opportunity allowed me to learn about the nonprofit sector, leadership and management, and solidified my interest in a career in comprehensive community development.
Trinity Fellowship Experience: Perusing my MBA while in the Trinity Fellowship Program was a direct result of my service and professional experience. I learned that while the passion and commitment of many in the nonprofit sector is unwavering, the overall skills and effectiveness of leaders could be improved by additional study of business theory and management practice. The MBA program at Marquette provided the opportunity to learn more about financial management, how to work with and motivate staff, and how develop and implement effective strategy.
Having the opportunity to also take classes with my Trinity cohort in areas more specific to the nonprofit sector and urban studies helped me to bridge the perceived gap between a profit-driven business model and mission-driven nonprofit work. I see the value in approaching nonprofit work with a strategic focus and outcome driven business plan. My placement at the Zilber Family Foundation truly made my studies relevant and more engaging. I used the literature from Trinity course work and the financial and strategy skills from the MBA coursework to contribute to the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative and the Foundation’s grant-making programs.
The Trinity program has helped me channel my professional interests into a field that allows me to work with service providers that are making a real impact in their communities while also utilizing my business background to help develop strategy and shape organizational and leadership development programs for the Foundation’s grantees. Such an opportunity is rare. My professional development has led to a job offer, and I am considering perusing additional postgraduate education.
Plans after graduation: I have accepted a full-time position with the Zilber Family Foundation as a program officer with a specific focus on economic development and housing initiatives. I will start on August 6th. In the meantime, I am taking the month of June off to settle into a new apartment in Milwaukee, and I will accompany Trinity alum, John Schilder, on a trip to Costa Rica and Panama for the month of July with the Global Youth Leadership Institute.