Karleen Herbst 


Title: Development Director

Age: 27

College: Bentley University

Major: Business Management and Liberal Studies in Global Perspectives 

First Job: Program Associate at Playworks

Current Salary: $75,000+


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Karleen leveraged a college internship connection into a full time job at Playworks, where she found her passion serving schools and communities. In her current role as Development Director, she is responsible for raising $1.3 million annually, powerfully supporting the Playworks mission.

What do you love about your current job?

My favorite thing about my job is that I love what we do. I’m so passionate about our mission because I know that we make such a great impact on the community and schools that we serve…I feel like Playworks deserves my all because of all that I’ve received from it. 

 What’s the best advice you ever got from a work mentor? 

Follow your dreams and don’t give up. It’s cliché but it’s true. In the field of development you get rejected a lot and it’s about how you handle that rejection, and then overcome it, to continue on in the bigger picture goal. I’ve realized that it’s much bigger than just me and that’s definitely important to remember. 

What experience in college helped you get to where you are today?

I networked my way to an internship during my senior year of college at the Massachusetts Downs Syndrome Congress and I ended up getting a job at Playworks through a connection I made during the internship. My story is very aligned with College for Social Innovation. I know the importance of having an internship and using that internship to navigate the social sector.

 What was your first professional job out of college and what did you learn?

With the program associate role at Playworks you really interact with the Playworks employees that are in the schools doing the work. I learned the importance of making sure that the people on the frontline are continuously motivated and encouraged. 

What advice would you give to a college student looking to build a career as a problem solver?

Get out and try everything once. Figure out what makes you tick and what you can pass on. I remember taking my first accounting class, accounting 101, and I thought that maybe this was going to be my career. However, I quickly realized that accounting just wasn't for me... College is the time that you have the opportunity to figure it out.