As the chief fundraiser for the local Chapter of RMHC, I am involved in a variety of activites that create opportunities for folks to develop relationships with our organization which leads to financial and volunteer support. No day is ever the same! My job is a big mix of marketing, communications, strategic planning, donor cultivation, event planning, and of course fundraising.
Undergrad degree: Sociology
Favorite class in college: Social Psychology
Graduate degree: Master's Degree in Sociology - I was a single mom at the time with an infant son and was able to get a Graduate Assistantship at the Univeristy of Memphis which made a lasting impact on my life and career opportunities.
College to career: I went straight from my bachelor's to the master's degree program. Within a couple of months of graduation and re-locating to Omaha, I had my first job leading a job readiness/job search program at Goodwill Industries. It was an amazing environment to learn about management, strategic planning, program planning and grant writing. I never looked back, I held a variety of program and fundraising positions with more responsibility and became the CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City in 2001 leaving there after leading the Chapter through its largest expansion and capital campaign to date. In 2008, I re-located to Austin with my family and managed to remain in the RMHC system - an amazing mission & organization.
The main influence on my career choice was a Catholic priest who led a volunteer project that I was involved in from the third to fifth grade. As children we worked with Vietnamese refugees who had re-settled outside of New Orleans in 1973. I learned at a very young age that I had skills and expertise to offer other children and adults, and loved the feeling of helping others in a very meaningful way.
I always was drawn to leadership and campaign type positions, and in college I learned more about the structure of not-for-profit organziations as a volunteer for Planned Parenthood.
Pros: I have the opportunity to work with staff and volunteers who are very diverse and very committed to the same mission as me.
Cons: Since our mission involves working with families who have hospitalized children, there are times when things don't go as well as we hope for them and that can be emotionally tough yet inspiring. And, there seems to never be enough time or resources to get everything done!!
Students coming out of college need to be willing to work hard at whatever opportunity they are presented with - often your dream job is a few steps away, so take the time time learn and prepare with each position or responsibility you are given.
For those choosing a major I would definitely choose something that you love and that moves you. I chose sociology because I enjoy people and working with groups - I was able to make a career by having a great work ethic, common sense, being a quick learner and a very generalist viewpoint that I believe I learned in college.