Graduate degree(s): Master's Degree in Sociology - I was a single mom at the time with an infant son and was able to get a Graduate Assistantship at the Univeristy of Memphis which made a lasting impact on my life and career opportunities.
Favorite class(es): Social Psychology
Moving from college to career:
I went straight from my bachelor's to the master's degree program. Within a couple of months of graduation and re-locating to Omaha, I had my first job leading a job readiness/job search program at Goodwill Industries. It was an amazing environment to learn about management, strategic planning, program planning and grant writing. I never looked back, I held a variety of program and fundraising positions with more responsibility and became the CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City in 2001 leaving there after leading the Chapter through its largest expansion and capital campaign to date. In 2008, I re-located to Austin with my family and managed to remain in the RMHC system - an amazing mission & organization.
The main influence on my career choice was a Catholic priest who led a volunteer project that I was involved in from the third to fifth grade. As children we worked with Vietnamese refugees who had re-settled outside of New Orleans in 1973. I learned at a very young age that I had skills and expertise to offer other children and adults, and loved the feeling of helping others in a very meaningful way.
I always was drawn to leadership and campaign type positions, and in college I learned more about the structure of not-for-profit organziations as a volunteer for Planned Parenthood.