Robin Simon, ‘89
I like to say I am one of the few people I know who uses what I learned in school all the time - decades later. With an aptitude and interest in math and business, when I took my first college course in marketing research, it was like a light bulb went on. I loved it and knew I wanted to make a career of it. More than thirty years later I am still in the sector, working in marketing analytics and forecast primarily with consumer products companies.
After completing my MBA at Booth, I worked in a variety of analytical research roles supporting Marketing and Sales at Helene Curtis (now part of Unilever) and Kraft Foods. When I left Kraft to start my own business in 2002, I also considered teaching or nonprofit work. Although I didn’t end up working in the nonprofit sector at that time, I’m a very active volunteer. I’ve been volunteering weekly since April 2020 at the Lakeview Pantry and have been a Community Educator for the Alzheimer’s Association since 2019. My longest-standing volunteer role has been as a docent with the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC), since 1997. I've also stayed involved with Booth and the University of Chicago since graduation, participating in various alumni clubs and even giving tours of the University of Chicago campus for the CAC. When I saw the call for BANC volunteers in the summer of 2016 for a market research focused project for a theater company, I knew it was for me - I love data, I love the theater and I was eager to apply my skills to serve a nonprofit.
I have found it very rewarding to apply my analytical skills to benefit BANC’s nonprofit clients. And I haven’t stopped. Since my first BANC project for Court Theater, I led projects for Prevent Blindness, One Million Degrees, and IMD Guest House. As a current member of BANC’s steering committee, I’ve been part of a small task force working on a strategic plan for the organization.
For me one of the best things about BANC is learning about the workings of our nonprofit clients and their specific sectors. The projects I have worked on have varied across the arts, education and healthcare, all of which interest me. For example, I helped develop a tour for the blind at the CAC, which later enhanced my work as project leader developing a data dashboard for the Prevent Blindness BANC project. I also believe getting to know other Booth alumni not from my own class or industry has greatly expanded my personal resources.
If you’re looking for new ways to apply your business skills in a way that helps people, I would highly recommend BANC. The challenges of the pandemic have heightened the need for nonprofit services and BANC provides a unique opportunity that connects Booth grads with rich, meaningful opportunities to contribute to society.