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Rising Stars: A Journey From The Private To Nonprofit Sector
Carter's first job out of college with a pharmaceutical company was a dream come true. Ultimately, though, he decided to leave his job and embark on a journey at a nonprofit. And he's learned a few valuable lessons along the way.
Name: Carter Romansky
School: Brown University
Years Out of College: 2-5
Title: Program Manager
Company: New Sector Alliance
For Carter, his first job was truly excellent in many ways. "I worked with a fantastic group of individuals who trusted me to do important, challenging things. My role required me to be analytical as well as intuitive; it required me to work with people from other companies and across disciplines within my own company; and it required me to constantly learn new skills."
Ultimately , though, Carter decided to depart from his
first job. "I began to feel that my work - helping a large
pharmaceutical company acquire new products - was not
creating long-term value for the company or for society. "
From Then to
In the beginning, however, Carter's experience ran
contrary to the popular opinion that switching from business
into nonprofit is easy. "The transition from the private
sector to the social sector was not an easy one to make. It
took nearly eight months of reading daily job postings on the
Web and plastering the world with my resume. I can't say
there was any one big break that led me to my current job --
it was just a matter of persistence and belief in what I was
So, what was Carter's strategy? "After a few months of searching with relatively little success, I sought out an organization doing something I thought was really important and offered to do some very intensive volunteering for them - on the order of 10-20 hours a week. I worked with the organization to structure some specific projects that would be valuable to them but would also help me gain some important experience. The projects had clear, tangible outputs and also included ways for me to apply the skills from my private sector job. This volunteer work was vital in helping me approach other organizations and get my current job."
This experience gave Carter an original perspective on the industry he was departing from and the new sector he was embarking on. "What I've learned in my time in the social sector is that there are many "business" functions that many businesses are not that good at and that many nonprofits are actually really good at. Both sectors have strengths and weaknesses and the most fertile ground lies in between."
Delving deeper into the nature of his work, Carter says, "It's my job to ensure that the program is succeeding on both sides of its mission - that it is both helping our Residents become better leaders and enabling our nonprofit partners to increase their impact. Over the coming decades, the nonprofit sector will need to recruit over 600,000 new leaders - more than twice the number currently employed - if is to continue the work of educating our children, maintaining our health, and empowering our communities. It is incredibly rewarding to be in the thick of the movement to meet this challenge."
Did I Ever Think I'd End
Carter's science background is a bit different from
that of most of his colleagues. "However," he says, "I think
that a non-traditional background can be a tremendous asset.
It's important for any organization to incorporate multiple
perspectives and ways of thinking, and so a person whose
major does not fit typical expectations can really enrich a
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