UConn hosts non-profit career panel
Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013 23:10
Careers for the Common Good (CCG) hosted a panel discussion on non-profit careers Friday evening at the UConn Foundation.
The UConn Foundation is a non-profit organization that strives to raise money for UConn, as Rachel Marshall, the associate director of giving highlighted. She also noted that multiple types of employment could be found within the non-profit, from marketing to IT positions, emphasizing how non-profit careers are not constrained to one specific task.
The idea of non-profit organizations being deeper than the stereotype of building house with the Peace Corp or protesting for a living with Amnesty International was a theme throughout the panel.
The panel featured three UConn alumnae, whose educations and careers provided diverse discussion and advice.
Melissa King, class of 2004, graduated from UConn with a political science degree. She described her experience working for Teach for America in New Orleans right before Hurricane Katrina and how she was unsure of what to pursue after graduation.
King eventually went on to work for the state of Massachusetts as a budget analyst, but knew that the field was not ideal for her. Eventually, after strategically distributing her resume, King landed her current job as a State Aid Coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
King emphasized putting yourself out there and seizing opportunities, even if you are unsure about where they may lead.
“There is value and experience gained no matter what you do,” King said.
Robin McHaelen was the second panelist to speak. After graduating from UConn in 1976, Haelan was also unsure of what she wanted to do after graduation.
“I couldn’t figure out who I wanted to be when I grew up,” she said.
After working for a telephone company and a myriad of other careers, McHaelan found her dream career. In 1993, McHaelan founded a support and advocacy group, True Colors Inc., for sexual minority youth. At the time, there were only two programs in the state for LGBTQIA youth.
“All I did in this,” McHaelean said, “was follow my passion.”
The third panelist was Lisa McGuire, a 1983 graduate. Another political science major, McGuire had thought about going into education, but followed her interest in politics to become the Director of Public Affairs, of the CT Business & Industry Association. The position enables McGuire to develop and enhance grass roots programs to influence public policy.
McGuire discussed how her career defies the stereotype of a non-profit organization.
“I encourage you, when you think of Careers for the Common Good, to think of corporations and politics, not just the Peace Corps,” McGuire said.
The panel was followed with a question and answer period, as well as a final piece of advice for each panelist.
“Being in a non-profit is about number one, knowing what your passion is,” McHaelen said, “and number two, go with those values.”
Careers for the Common Good host events year round and their next event will be a Career Expedition. Students will to Hartford to interact with alumni at their work places and shadow career professionals. The event will be on Nov. 8 and will focus on Human Right and Healthcare work. For more information visit the Career for the Common Good webpage.