Laura Ballek

Union Capital Boston 

Title: Chief of Networks

Age: 28

College: New York University

Major: Spanish

First Job: City Year

Current Salary: $45,000-$60,000


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After stints with City Year Miami and Teach For America, Laura began work at Union Capital Boston. As Chief of Networks, Laura and the Union Capital team build social capital across Boston’s neighborhoods through a unique rewards app.Through her career in the social sector, Laura built self-confidence and discovered how to put her passion to work in optimizing systems that serve communities. 

What do you love about your current job?

The core of my work is relational. I’ve learned that if you want outcomes for a community, you have to learn what outcomes they want. I love focusing on that.

 What was a turning point in your career?

Getting into Teach for America because it’s such a strong network. This was also the moment when I realized I could be a leader. Coming from a background of low self-confidence, that was definitely a turning point. I realized I was in charge and could be a role model.

 What drew you to work in the social sector? 

After school I was in New York trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I’d always thought I would go into music, but after graduating I couldn't imagine myself as a performer. I realized I want to help heal the rift between human beings. I’ve always been someone that doesn't like to see inequality, so I knew I had to be part of this.

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

The first thing you have to do is get right with yourself and love yourself.  In the famous words of RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how are you going to love someone else?”  It’s important to understand that there’s a world bigger than you. You also can’t be afraid of problems because they're out there and they're real. If you don't face them, you may never see them. Whether it’s your own confidence, your own self-esteem, or your own bubble, you have to be honest with yourself first. Also, finding what you can maintain passion about your whole life is key to being a problem solver.

 What’s a potential next step in your career?

I’m thinking about going back to school for information management. I’ve learned that I’m the person that likes to figure out how systems work and build what leaders need in order to be more effective and efficient.