Clara Botstein ’07: How AlumniCorps Impacts My Work

Clara Botstein ’07 is the Director of Early College Strategy for Bard College. She is a former PP55 fellow and a current Emerging Leader. We asked her to reflect on the experience of her fellowship, her career, and how AlumniCorps continues to impact her work.  

Princeton AlumniCorps has had the largest impact of any single organization on my career development and trajectory. I participated in the Princeton Project 55 Fellowship program in Chicago from 2007-08 and in New York City from 2008-09.  My placement in Chicago was at the Civic Federation, a nonpartisan government research organization. Through the Civic Federation and the fellowship’s weekly seminar series, I became interested in local government, policy, and community development. Through the seminars in particular, the fellowship opened my eyes to the diversity of nonprofit organizations that exist, as well as the very real challenges they face, and encouraged me to apply for a more community development-oriented policy job.

My interests led me to United Neighborhood Houses of New York (UNH), the umbrella organization of New York City’s settlement houses and community    centers, which I found through the Princeton AlumniCorps fellowship network. During my two years on UNH’s policy team, I was able to learn about and advocate for a range of human services, including after school and college access   programs. It was at UNH that I discovered my passion for education reform and decided to pursue a graduate degree in public policy with a focus on education.

Since graduating from policy school at the University of California, Berkeley, I have been working on new school development and advocacy for Bard College’s early college team. Bard’s early colleges allow public school students to earn tuition-free college credits up to an associate’s degree concurrently with a high school diploma, thereby creating a seamless and affordable pathway for students to and through college. At Bard, I found myself in an exciting and challenging role, and I was eager to find a support network and a way in which to continue developing my skills so I could be as     successful as possible.

My desire for professional development and a support network led me to apply to the AlumniCorps Emerging Leaders program, which I learned about through a friend. Emerging Leaders has been a terrific experience. I have been able to hear from inspiring nonprofit speakers and to delve deeper into specific topics, such as fundraising, that are relevant for my job. The program also focuses heavily on management and team building, which has been very helpful for me as a member of a new and growing staff. Most importantly, Emerging Leaders allows me to take time out of my schedule to reflect on my work and to learn from talented peers (the other Emerging Leaders participants) who face similar challenges.

Princeton AlumniCorps has had a profound impact on my career and aspirations. As a Princeton graduate interested in public service, Princeton AlumniCorps provided a much-needed outlet through which to find opportunities in the nonprofit sector. Beyond help with job placement, Princeton AlumniCorps has allowed me to discover and explore potential career paths, develop my skills, and meet mentors and like-minded individuals who will become the next generation of public sector leaders. Having those experiences and that network has been invaluable. I am fully committed to a public service career, and I thank Princeton AlumniCorps for helping to make that possible, for me and hundreds of other graduates.

AlumniCorps will begin recruiting the next class of Emerging Leaders in New York and Washington, DC, in early 2014. Stay tuned for application information! For more information about Emerging Leaders, please contact Rachel Benevento at RBenevento@alumnicorps.org.

AlumniCorps’ Celebrates the Emerging Leaders Program’s Inaugural Year

Emerging Leaders Class of 2012

Members of the nonprofit community gathered in Washington, D.C. on March 13th to celebrate the success of the Emerging Leaders program’s first year. AlumniCorps board and staff members, participants’ employers, mentors and family members joined other supporters to congratulate the 2012 class of Emerging Leaders. Within three intimate groups, participants shared the ways that the program has changed their professional lives. Attendees were inspired to hear firsthand the exponential impact this program has achieved in just one year. As one participant said, “This program didn’t just transform eleven individuals. It transformed the workings of at least eleven nonprofit organizations in DC, and it will continue to improve how effectively those different organizations serve their employees and their community moving forward.”

The celebration culminated a series of monthly sessions facilitated by an executive coach and featuring executive-level guest speakers within the nonprofit sector along with skill development activities. The Emerging Leaders implemented these learned skills in their work, and acted as role models for their peers. The program is expanding to New York in its second year, set to begin in June. The nonprofit professionals who recently completed the program are helping to fill a significant leadership gap within the sector as AlumniCorps Board President Kathy Miller ’77 noted: “A recent extensive study by the Meyer Foundation and Compass, Daring to Lead 2011, found that two thirds of nonprofit executives plan to leave their jobs within five years.”

An Emerging Leader summed up her gratitude for the program. “This is a phenomenal experience that is easily worth 10 times what our organizations contributed to support this work. I hope your work is able to expand to support even beyond NY, as I found this immensely helpful to my personal and professional growth. Thank you!”

Emerging Leaders participant and Alumni Liaison Kyndall Parker ’06 announced an alumni fundraising effort with a goal of securing $10,000 by June 30, 2012. If you would like to support Emerging Leaders continued growth please donate now:

 

 

 

Congratulations to the Class of 2012 Emerging Leaders!

Emerging Leaders Program Expands Beyond DC to NYC

Nonprofit professionals working in New York along with their peers in Washington, DC can now take advantage of the hugely successful Emerging Leaders professional development program, thanks to a very generous grant from the Rita Allen Foundation. An expansive network of nonprofit organizations and executives combined with an innovative curriculum, Emerging Leaders uniquely prepares organizations  to address the growing leadership gap in the sector, identified by many in the field, including the Bridgespan Group.

Through highly effective, in-depth knowledge sharing, peer community building, and skills improvement, Emerging Leaders creates a cohort of aspiring nonprofit executives early in their careers while they are still committed to the sector. Current participants are thrilled with the far-reaching impact of the program as it enables them to accelerate their growth and contributions more rigorously and quickly than they otherwise could.

Emerging Leader Kyndall Parker ’06 states, “The lessons I’ve learned from Emerging Leaders have made me a better manager, direct report, and peer and put me in a position to have been recently promoted to Senior Director of Operations.” The program runs for 8 full-day sessions over 8 consecutive months and is open to all university graduates who meet the application criteria. The application deadline is March 15th.

Please note that there is an application fee of $20. This fee is waived for Princeton Project 55 Fellowship Program alumni. The nominal participation fee of $350 for each applicant who is accepted may be covered by employers.

 

For more information about Emerging Leaders or to apply,

visit www.AlumniCorps.org.

Have questions?

Contact EmergingLeaders@AlumniCorps.org

New Emerging Leaders Program A Success

Program Leader Hilary Joel '85 with the inaugural class of Emerging Leaders. From L to R: Lopez' 10, Segal, Lewis LaMonica '08, Lyon '09, Host, Carlis, Lindsey *07, Fesler '01, Joel '85, Parker '06, Simmons '03, Fridirici '06

“The Emerging Leaders program has not only provided me with useful tools for understanding  how I can become a better leader in my current position, but has inspired me to continue to improve my network, my self-awareness, and my skills so that I can build a lifelong career in the nonprofit sector.”  

               –  Elizabeth Lindsey *07, DC Emerging Leader, Managing Director of The DC Project

With participants scheduled to attend their fifth session this month, Princeton AlumniCorps’ new Emerging Leaders program is well underway and already providing tangible benefits to aspiring nonprofit leaders in Washington, DC.

Feedback from participants to date has been overwhelmingly positive. Susan Lyon ’09, Special Assistant for Energy and Environmental Policy at the Center for American Progress, shares:

“Let me put it this way—when I told my DC colleagues about Emerging Leaders, they all wanted to join. The program has really added value to my Princeton education after Princeton. Alumni programming is one of the reasons why I chose to attend Princeton, and this makes me glad I did. Specifically, the expert combination of management theory, speaker series, and hands-on brainstorming makes Emerging Leaders an incredibly useful series of workshops and trainings.”

The program curriculum interweaves the development of leadership, management, and hard nonprofit skills with mentoring, peer support, and networking within the sector. Simultaneously, Emerging Leaders are putting their learning into action as they design and execute projects that generate real results for their organizations. The pilot Emerging Leaders program runs for 10 months, culminating in a celebration and presentation by the participants in March 2011.

Program sessions to date have featured presentations from well-known leaders in the nonprofit sector, including: Judith Sandalow, Executive Director of The Children’s Law Center; Eric Schweikert, CFO of Share Our Strength; and Khari Brown, Executive Director of Capital Partners for Education.

Over the course of the next six months, participants will continue to develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to advance their professional contributions and accelerate their careers in the nonprofit sector.

To learn more about Emerging Leaders, please visit www.alumnicorps.org

 

AlumniCorps Hires Rachel Benevento, New Program Manager for Community Volunteers & Emerging Leaders

Rachel Benevento and Kef Kasdin '85

Rachel Benevento is the newest member of the Princeton AlumniCorps team.  Most recently, she worked at VolunteerConnect in Princeton, creating a skills-based volunteer pilot program. Rachel also served as a VolunteerConnect board member, helping to create a new service model for the organization. Previously, she engaged corporate employees in cancer education and fundraising initiatives for the American Cancer Society.

Rachel has also worked at Columbia University where she founded the Alumni Partnership Program, connecting current and former students on a personal level through various forums. As a board member for Community Impact at Columbia, she advised staff and student coordinators on programmatic challenges and evaluated new program proposals. She earned an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and has worked as a freelance writer and editor. Rachel holds a B.A. in history from Columbia.

Regarding Community Volunteers, Rachel writes: “I am excited to help Community Volunteers reach its potential in engaging mid-career alumni in meaningful public service opportunities. Matching the professional expertise of program participants to the needs of  local nonprofit organizations will provide critical outlets for alumni to channel their passions and make a difference in their community.”

Contact Rachel to learn about Community Volunteers and Emerging Leaders at RBenevento@alumnicorps.org.