Alumni Interview: Working for a Non-Profit

When entering the ‘real’ world you have several different avenues offered to you. First you could go into the private sector (big business, corporations, privately owned businesses), the public sector (government), or the non-profit sector. Many of the students at the College of Charleston are seeing the non-profit world as a place where they want to work in the future. Not only can you work in a variety of different venues but you have the potential to help someone along the way. To give you more information about what working in the non-profit sector is Marissa Hockenberry, an alumnus of the College of Charleston. If you have any further questions for Ms. Hockenberry please log into your CISTERNonline account and check out the Mentor Network. We have several participating mentors, including Ms. Hockenberry, who would love to advise you about the non-profit sector.

1. Tell me a little bit about your current position.
Channel Development Specialist works with grocery chains, independents, cafes & distributors to ensure as many Fair Trade Certified products are on the shelves & available for consumers to purchase. Help with employee education and create presentations to enable the Fair Trade message to be easily spread to others and lived everyday. Coordination with various internal departments is key to successful implementation of promotional programs.

2. What was the appeal to working in a non-profit organization? I wanted to work for a company that is aligned with my ideals, where I would be able to showcase my talents, where my work would make a difference to the organization and the world at large.

3. Have you worked in a for-profit position and, if so, how does your current work differ from that? I worked in the for-profit sector for 10 years previously. The last 3 years were at an international for-profit company. I found I was not able to make changes or implement sustainable business practices because there were too many people in the organization with only the bottom line in mind. Although good intentions were there, so too were many roadblocks.

4. What advice would you give to a student who wanted to work in the non-profit sector? If that is what your heart is telling you to do, then you should. It can be daunting because the non-profit world is known to not pay well, but it’s worth it when you can leave the office with a smile on your face knowing that what you’ve done that day has helped someone/thing else. The non-profit world is challenging but rewards more.

5. Any other comments or advice? Research the company you are considering; if possible, do an internship with them to get the feel of the internal structure. Be open to change and challenge.

You can make a comment below about working in non-profit or you can log into CISTERNonline to talk more in depth with Ms. Hockenberry.




An Interview: Arts Management Alumnus Miriam Dolin

I can tell you day in and day out all about the Arts Management major and the possible career directions, but it is always better to get information from the source. In this case that source is from an alumnus who went through the same program you are going or thinking of going through. Below are five questions I posed to Ms. Miriam Dolin, a College of Charleston Arts Management graduate, and her very insightful answers.




1. Why did you choose Arts Management as a major when you attended College of Charleston?

I initially chose the major because I wanted to go into the “business side” of the theatre… I didn’t want to major in Theatre and Arts Management had an interesting blend of classes in the Arts and business classes. I just took the Intro course and realized there were so many facets to the field of Arts Management that surely there was a place for me somewhere.

2. How do you think it benefited you then and now?


It benefited me in college because I was able to take so many different classes that interested me. Now, in my field, when I went on job interviews, people were very interested in what skillset came out of that major. It only sets you apart in a positive way from others who were a generic business or communications major.

3. Tell me a little bit about your current position?

Currently, I am the Associate Development Director for a 501c3 organization, Medical Development for Israel, Inc. We raise funds for the Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel. It is the only Tertiary care hospital serving children from all backgrounds in the Middle East. This organization is based out of New York City.

I NEVER thought I wanted to go into Development (Fundraising)… actually I went to grad school in Arts Administration after COFC and it was there that I decided to go into fundraising and to not do it for the arts.

4. If you could give any advice to current students in this major or thinking about this major what would it be?

If you think you would like to work for a non profit of any kind, not necessarily in the arts, this is still the major for you. I say this because this program at COFC teaches you so much about the non-profit sector in general. You still take business classes, but you learn so much about the non-profit world, which is becoming more and more appealing for people to go into after they get burnt out in the corporate sector.

5. Any other comments or advice?

The Arts Management program was the best decision I made for myself. The professors were wonderful and I still remember certain lectures from my classes. You get a lot of personal attention, which I feel is hard to find in other majors. Also, the people I graduated with are still great resources for me as I move along in my career in New York City.


Next week come back for different resources you can use to find more information about the Arts Management Major and careers in the field.


If you have any other additional questions for Ms. Dolin please go to the Career Mentor Network located in CISTERNonline.