Archive for the ‘Career’ Category

It’s a journey, not a sprint

My last post was before I finally secured a position at PATH in Seattle. Suffice to say I have been busy since my August 2010 start as a Program Assistant (“PA”) in the Vaccine Access and Delivery Global Program. I’d like to say that I make a decent amount of money to pay my huge student loan bill every month, and that I have an amazing title that screams: “Hey! I have my MBA!” But neither of those are true. What IS true is that I have definitely checked off many of the post-MBA job “must haves” on my list including:

  • Mission-based work. Check!
  • Smart people around me. Check!
  • International environment. Check!
  • A large organization. Check!
  • Not a start up company. Check!
  • Belief in the work my organization does in the world. Check!
  • A supportive mentor. Check!
  • Proud to work at my organization. Check!
  • Committed to my organization. Check!

I’m not the only one with a masters degree in this level of a job here, and it’s even worse next door at the Gates Foundation. But what I didn’t realize when I took this job was what a big deal it is to secure even a full time PA job at PATH without years of applying and/or temping. The demand to work here far outweighs the supply of jobs, and it’s just getting more and more competitive. Even with my current position, I constantly have people who want to talk to me about my work and the organization, which is a really exciting position to be in.

Getting your foot in the door is one thing, but the culture here is also one of having to pay your dues and work your way up. Sometimes it’s very tough to be patient when you feel that your drive, skill set, education and desire to do more is just not panning out in your daily duties. I try to stay positive, remember my long list above, and be grateful that I have a loving husband that supports me in all sorts of ways, including financially, enabling me to work here. I am also thankful that I happened to stumble into the world of international development by taking this job, although the universe had definitely been steering me here for some time.

And I have to say, that things are finally starting to turn a corner for me and my particular part of the organization: we have a new Program Leader, a new private industry CEO starting in a few days, a project base that went from 3 to 12, and some great new colleagues. What this means is that I am finally starting to be in a position where the program’s growth will allow me to take on more “suitable” responsibilities at first informally, and then formally with a brand spanking new title hopefully within 12 months. In just the past few weeks I have been handed substantial projects within my program that are setting me on my way, and giving me opportunities to show those around me what I can really do. With that will hopefully come chances to work in the field, on the programmatic side, and be closer to the work and in less of a support role. These is where I want to be and should be.

Now it’s just up to me to continue to go after what I want out of my career and stay committed to my work and PATH’s mission. I want to use my MBA for good in the world, and even though I could be working at a higher level and pay upstairs at Amazon, I am and will continue to be a much happier and healthier person by staying put, just where I am.

Want to see what I am up to? Follow me on Twitter and find me on Linked In.

I am an MBA….who wants to save the world (or atleast try to)

You might have seen a form of this tweet from me this past week or so:

OFFER: #MBA (expert: strategy/acct mgmt/ITstartups) seeks <6month #Africa project in #socent #microfinance or #fairtrade http://su.pr/2WErgp

I have been slowly perfecting my 140 character blurb to maximize exposure in the Twittersphere in the hopes that my message somehow comes across the desktop of someone who could use my help. I spend a lot of time tweeting and blogging about my various personal and professional interests, but my friends, I am at a crossroads and need your help.  My 6 month Taproot Foundation strategic planning project with Seattle Goodwill Industries has just ended, we are on “summer break” for my board post at Seattle Net Impact, and my big special events with Fabric of Life Fair Trade Foundation and Boutique have come and gone.

I am more than one year out from receiving my MBA from ESADE, and 8 months into my new life in the Seattle, WA area, and it’s time to make some changes and progress.  I have spent lots of time researching, networking, and just general thinking about what I want to do with my degree and my professional life.  What I have concluded is that more than anything, I want a fulfilling career where I can use business to help solve our toughest social (and environmental) issues.  I am inspired by the good work being done by Grameen Foundation, Marigold Fair Trade Clothing, Acumen Fund, Fair Factories Clearinghouse, and of course by the amazing social entrepreneurs at Ashoka.  Getting out in the field, and aligning myself with these types of organizations would be a dream come true, and a giant leap in the direction of being able to leave my positive mark on the world.

At this point, I think it’s important that I get some hands on professional experience in a developing nation (perhaps in Africa?).  Yes I have an MBA from Spain, and while that experience was invaluable, it doesn’t quite fulfull my desire and need to have a job abroad. To sum up my goals as of this moment:

<<<I am now seeking a short-term (6 months of less) project in a social enterprise, fair trade cooperative, or microfinance institute in a developing nation, preferably in Africa.  Ideally I would like a paid project, but would be OK with an opportunity that pays all my expenses.>>>

My pre-MBA background was in IT start ups, and so I feel very comfortable in technical environments.  I am an expert in account management and training, and also have experience with non-profit outreach, event planning and market research.

***If you know of any organizations who might be able to use my help, please have them contact me via email: megan_le@hotmail.com or twitter: meganle.  Thank you everyone!!!***