“ONE OF MY MENTORS TOLD ME TO FIND OUT WHAT I’M GOOD AT AND MAKE MYSELF INVALUABLE BECAUSE OF IT.”
the boston foundation
Title: Program Officer, Nonprofit Effectiveness
College: University of Texas
Major: Child Development and Communication Studies
First Job: Working at an international food assistance program
In college, Stephanie completed a full-time internship in advocacy, which allowed her to apply her classroom learning to real life policy making. In her current role at The Boston Foundation, Stephanie finds joy in helping nonprofits find the resources they need to serve their constituents.
What do you love about your current job?
I’m someone who can get very focused on the details, so working at foundation that focuses on community-level change is a nice compliment to my day-to-day job running a grantmaking program. Something that I love is when nonprofits feel that they have necessary resources to meet their mission, so I’m passionate about helping them get there.
What drew you to work in the social sector?
I think part of it is my background, having grown up in a low-income family that needed to tap into social services. This drew awareness that the nonprofit sector existed. But the sector felt opaque as a career option until I worked at a nonprofit the last semester of my undergraduate program. It helped me to see that there are different types of nonprofits that are achieving social change in different ways and at different levels.
What experience in college helped you get to where you are today?
As part of my curriculum for one of my degree programs we had to complete a practicum…. where you as a student were embedded full time in an organization that served children and families. My placement was at a nonprofit advocacy coalition for early childhood education legislation. It was a good opportunity to see how the early childhood development research best practices I learned in school were applied to real life policy-making.
What was your first professional job out of college and what did you learn?
Working on a direct service food distribution program on an international NGO in South Africa. The biggest thing I took away from it was the constant recognition of my privilege as a white woman from the western part of the world…it was very humbling and it was a good reminder that no matter how passionate you are about what you do, if you don't have a commitment to cultural competency, it doesn't really matter.