Chama Saissi 

Citizen Schools

Title: Senior Payroll Manager

Age: 39

College: University of Hassan II Casablanca

Major: Business Management

First Job: Finance for grandfather's plastic company

Current Salary: $75,000+


chama 5.png

Upon moving from her birthplace of Morocco to the US at age 23, Chama pursued a degree in accounting at Bunker Hill. After beginning her career in the for-profit sector, Chama decided to find a job where she could give back to society. Citizen Schools allowed her to use her accounting expertise to have a positive impact on the lives of students and families. 

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

I did finance for my grandfather’s plastic company in Morocco. I learned the value of money because I saw how hard people work to get a few dollars. It also helped me realize I was good with numbers.

What was a turning point in your career?

I couldn't afford law school in the US, which is why I decided to pursue this career path. It was the best decision I could've made at the time given the circumstances. It was a turning point in my life in terms of where I saw myself going in the future. It made me consider where I can fit, where I can be good to myself, and where I can be good to society. 

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

I would advise them to see what their weakness is. Facing it instead of having people show it to you is really important. Don't hide your weakness, face it and also learn what you're strong at. 

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

My dad said to me, “When you're stressed, work even harder”. Meaning, when you run into a situation that puts you down, do a lot of work to let it go. Then move on. That’s my law and that’s when I become creative. Another piece of advice is you always get more with honey than vinegar, meaning kindness can take you a long way.

What drew you to work in the social sector? 

I was looking for a change from the for-profit world and I wanted to go somewhere where people were giving back to the society. I wanted a job where people were giving back to the society. As a foreigner in this country, I was lucky to have a lot given back to me. Because of this, I felt like I wanted to give back as well. There are always positive deeds associated with Citizen Schools and how much they impact people’s lives. If I ever left here, I would make sure to still go somewhere that is giving back to humanity.