Leah Pittacora, ‘01
Since my time at Booth, my career has been in strategy and operations consulting, business process improvement, and acquisition integration. Throughout this time, though, I found myself thinking more and more about different ways to get involved with volunteering and work with nonprofits.
When I got the email from BANC announcing the first round of projects in 2015, it was clear that this was the right opportunity at the right time. Recently, I had begun working independently as a consultant and felt that I had the right amount of time and flexibility in my schedule to take on a BANC project. I applied and was selected for one of the first projects, with the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC). The WBDC is a motivated, mission-driven group, and they placed strong emphasis on getting the most out of the project. Working with the BANC team on the WBDC project was such a good experience, it led me to want to work on more BANC projects. I was a consultant on a second project for the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, and then became a project leader for the Urban Autism Solutions project.
All the teams that I have had the pleasure of working with, both the Booth team members and the non-profit client team members, have been really great. The client teams have all been very committed to their organizations and their missions and that energy and commitment really runs through the entire project. I think our Booth teams have brought and also honed their skills in areas from finance and analytics to marketing and communications to the building of business plans to organizational alignment. The projects have been interesting and varied.
Another bonus from volunteering with BANC: it increased my engagement with the Booth community. I’ve met so many Booth alumni that I would likely not have crossed paths with, with such a broad range of experiences, backgrounds and graduation years. A couple of years ago, I accepted an invitation to join the BANC steering committee and appreciate the opportunity to stay involved and work on internal BANC projects that shape the future of the BANC organization. I also became a mentor at UofC’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I was introduced to this opportunity through a BANC connection.
If you are on the fence about applying for a BANC project, I would highly recommend you do it. I have found that so many skills from the corporate world are transferable to the nonprofit world. Both sectors are trying to do similar things, just approaching it a little differently for obvious reasons; the framework & methodologies are just as applicable. I have a ton of respect and gratitude for BANC and the opportunities they give to others and unique contributions they make to nonprofits here in the Chicago area.