Reflections of an Employee
Working for Companies That Care was my first job out of college. By the end of my studies at Northwestern, my interests were Educational Policy and Corporate Social Responsibility. When I learned that Companies That Care was looking to launch an education program, it seemed like the perfect fit. After three-plus years working at the small nonprofit, I would recommend my move to any recent college grad. Four things truly standout to me about my experience at Companies That Care-- wearing many different hats under one roof, working closely with the leadership of an organization, being a direct service provider and gaining real exposure to the business world.
Working closely with leadership stems from the fact that Companies That Care is a small organization. I had been at the organization less than a month before I was standing side-by-side with our president, delivering a presentation in a corporate conference room. What a cool experience for a green employee! I will always remember that day. I felt like my opinion mattered and that what I was doing was important and made an impact. I felt the same way the first time I was in front of a group of AIM High kids leading an event and after school meeting. I continued to feel that way as I developed relationships and worked with the Companies That Care Board of Directors and President.
Wearing many hats is probably pretty common in small organizations, but at Companies That Care, everyone truly does everything. From organizing a fundraiser to developing curriculum, from serving as a committee member to serving a child, from organizing mass mailings to contacting CEOS. While it is always a challenge to balance competing priorities and multiple tasks, it is an essential skill to have for being a successful professional and Companies That Care is a great training ground for this. Companies That Care prepares you to do so many things. After working here, you have so many bullet points to choose from to put on your resume.
Another unique aspect of working at Companies That Care is the direct service component of being a Program Associate. As a program associate, you get to be behind the desk as a planner, but you also get to be with students, parents and mentors in the field. I do not know of many nonprofit positions that work like this. One of the most rewarding parts of my job that grew out of this dual role was developing close relationships with students and families. My Sunday night event reminder phone calls to parents were always welcome and gave me a chance to talk with parents about the program and their child. Many of my close relationships with the students grew during the after school sessions and solidified during the College Bus Tour.
On top of all the advantages of working for a small organization, Companies That Care also provides employees a rich exposure to the business world. From learning how to properly communicate in the corporate world to staffing a booth at a trade show. Every employee gets the chance to manage and grow important business relationships.
All in all, Companies That Care gave me the opportunity to learn from great people, gain valuable experience and cultivate my passion. For this I am grateful and because of this I am confidently prepared for what is next.