Why Booth? Why Civic Scholars?

During my career focused on homelessness and employment services, I have seen the need to rethink not just public policies but also organizational practices. Booth is uniquely positioned to address both with its curricular flexibility and academic strength. But I was looking for more than an MBA: I was looking for a small community that would ask big questions about business and the public good. I found this in Civic Scholars.

What are your career aspirations?

Using public policy and private enterprise, I want to create jobs for low-income people around the world. I hope to eventually lead my own direct service organization, one that’s as obsessed with product design as the tech companies of my hometown and sets a new standard for client accessibility in the social sector.

What skills are you looking to develop at Booth and implement into your sector?

Booth’s Chicago Approach gives students frameworks for thinking about problems and then confronts those frameworks with data. This is exactly what’s needed in social services, and exactly why I chose Booth. Answers to challenges in homelessness and employment services often hinge upon assumptions about what should work and what has worked in studies. But I want to figure out what does work and what will work in practice so we can achieve lasting results for people in America and the world. Focusing on behavioral science and economics at Booth, I aim to grow as a manager, decision-maker, and critical thinker.

Why is an MBA important in the nonprofit and government sector?

Considerations of social inequity often emphasize its “structural” origins in policy and law. But this short-changes the importance of effective organizations in creating positive change. An MBA equips social sector professionals with the analytical tools to evaluate public policies and their consequences. It also gives them management skills to realize their visions for good in nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies.

Tell us about your career journey and how you got to where you are now within the social sector.

I returned from college and worked at a publishing house in San Francisco. We were open late, and every night offered informal refuge to people living on the street. When one friend passed away in a shelter, I dedicated myself to understanding and preventing what had happened. My career in the social sector began with local government and transitioned into case management for formerly incarcerated people. Later I taught English as a Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia, and then came back to Oakland, where I managed housing and employment programs for homeless veterans.