Nurturing a Community of Civic Leaders


Photo of Kelly LambrinatosIn Chicago Booth’s Civic Scholars Program, MBA-bound nonprofit and government professionals take part in special programming and networking events through our Weekend MBA Program. In this full-scholarship program, students refine their civic leadership chops and receive a world-class business education at the same time.

Weekend student Kelly Lambrinatos is the cofounder and executive director of VOCEL, a nonprofit that provides educational opportunities to underserved Chicago communities. Since enrolling at Booth in 2016, she has seen a definitive shift in the way she leads VOCEL. “Not only have I noticed a change in my leadership, management, thinking, and decision-making at my organization, but these changes have also been noted to me by my co-founder and multiple board members,” she explains.

Charged with leading a strategic planning process over the past year, Kelly was able to draw directly from the classroom to help her navigate the transition. “I took lessons from multiple Booth classes – from applying frameworks and ways of thinking to better cash flow analysis to preparing my communications in a way that would be persuasive and compelling – that helped me lead our board, funders, staff and community stakeholders through our change process,” she said. “I can’t count the number of times I’ve started a sentence with: ‘In one of my classes we studied/learned…’”

As the organization prepares to launch their next strategic phase, Kelly is confident that her experience in the Civic Scholars Program will come in handy. According to Kelly, it already has: “I know I would not have been able to make the decisions I did, with the thorough analysis and compelling narrative, had it not been for much of the learning I’ve done at Booth over the past seven quarters.”

Learn more about the Civic Scholars Program »