Christina Papirnik worked with Civic Consulting Alliance from January to April 2019 as a fellow from KPMG.
Sonja Manning worked with Civic Consulting Alliance from March to May 2019 as a fellow from Deloitte.
What project work were you involved in during your time at the Civic Consulting Alliance?
During my time at the Civic Consulting Alliance, I worked with
West Side United
, a collaborative that seeks to improve health outcomes for residents of Chicago’s West Side.
I was fortunate to support a Civic Consulting Alliance project to roll out Universal Pre-K in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The project vision is ambitious and exciting—to expand the number of 4-year-olds served by CPS from 12,500 as of school year 2018-2019 to 24,000 by school year 2021-2022. I focused on launching a cross-functional collaboration model within CPS and on creating a more structured and strategic approach to engage school principals and district leadership in the process.
What will you take away from your time at Civic Consulting Alliance?
Working across a range of Chicago-focused projects, the Civic Consulting Alliance team demonstrates focus and resilience in tackling problems that are daunting and sometimes seemingly insurmountable. I hope to take some of that “can do” attitude with me!
First, no matter the industry, organization, or problem I am trying to solve, the most important factors for success are building relationships and building trust. Second, as someone who spent five years consulting at the federal level, I realized that there is a great deal of innovation and strategic leadership happening at the local level that should be celebrated. Finally, as someone who moved to Chicago from D.C., I learned that civic engagement is uniquely woven into Chicago’s fabric.
What was your most memorable experience during your time at Civic Consulting Alliance?
Working on West Side United was a very unique experience, as it is truly collaborative—bringing a myriad of partners together to improve public health by addressing economic, neighborhood, and healthcare factors through a cohesive approach. As someone with a career in public health, I appreciate how rare it is for organizations to take on such a broad mission, and I valued the opportunity to participate.
I traveled to schools and communities all over the city to meet with principals, teachers, and CPS leadership. It was powerful to meet with so many people who were passionate about education and motivated to increase access to and quality of early childhood education.
How has your time at Civic Consulting Alliance helped you develop professionally?
Working at Civic Consulting Alliance allowed me to learn more about Chicago, and has left me thinking about how I may be able to continue contributing to the city’s progress in the future.
My time at Civic Consulting Alliance provided me with a client service experience on which to reflect as I head to business school at University of Michigan (go blue!) this fall. I’ve developed a deeper understanding of what types of problems I like to solve and the personal and professional skills I want to cultivate.
Civic Consulting Alliance Fellowships are full-time positions that typically last between three months and a year. Fellows are integrated into project teams for a unique professional development opportunity. Please visit the
page on our website to learn more.