What project work were you involved in during your time at Civic Consulting Alliance?
I worked with West Side United for 6 months, supporting the Medical Assistant Pathway Program (MAPP) - now in its second year - and incubating two new career pathways programs: Nursing and Health IT.
I worked with West Side United. My work focused on developing and launching two grant programs to support West Side entrepreneurs and nonprofits, helping small business owners grow their enterprises and creating local jobs.
I helped the Mayor’s Office of Public Safety coordinate gun violence reduction efforts across the Chicago Police Department, street outreach programs, community-based organizations, and other city agencies. I also supported work with the Mayor’s Summer Safety Cabinet.
What will you take away from your time at Civic Consulting Alliance?
I came to Civic Consulting Alliance to gain experience in economic vitality. I have learned about how different institutions approach complex problems, about the philanthropic sector, and about the many stakeholders working together to create a more equitable, inclusive Chicago economy. This real-world experience will be invaluable as I begin law school and explore issues like labor and employment law.
I’ll take away a greater appreciation for the work the public sector and private institutions do to serve and improve Chicago. I’ve also grown my knowledge of Chicago communities. Working with West Side United introduced me to several neighborhoods I previously knew little about, and deepened my love for the city.
Prior to this summer, I had no experience in public safety or consulting, so I’m leaving with many lessons learned about both of these areas. I’m also grateful to my colleagues at Civic Consulting Alliance, who have taught me so much this summer.
What was your most memorable experience during your time at Civic Consulting Alliance?
MAPP students needed laptops, and Civic Consulting Alliance Associate Principal Kirsten Carroll and I pitched in to help with ordering and delivery. Little did we know we would end up spending an afternoon handing out 19 new laptops to students. I'll also always remember how my colleagues came together to make sure this Texan had enough warm clothing to survive my first snow in Chicago.
To spread the word about the grant programs, West Side United held seven community information sessions. I attended the kick-off session in Austin, which drew 150 local entrepreneurs. Meeting with applicants and hearing about the work they do every day for their community was impactful and added meaning to my work.
My ride-along with the Chicago Police Department was definitely a highlight. I spent an evening with officers in District 5, one of the districts my work with the Office of Public Safety focused on. It was interesting to see the work that police officers do every day firsthand, and provided context for the broader initiatives I was working on.
How has your time at Civic Consulting Alliance helped you develop professionally?
I had a high level of independence and autonomy, which strengthened my work planning and project management skills. One lesson from the programmatic staff of West Side United is how to effectively “lead from behind” in a way that, instead of pushing responsibilities onto others, encourages them to take ownership over workstreams.
I’ve gained invaluable experience driving diverse stakeholders towards collaborative, effective outcomes. I’ve also learned to never underestimate the power of planning and organization.
My time as a Summer Associate was incredibly informative as I continue to develop long-term goals for my post-business school career. In addition to the skills I’ve strengthened, it has been exciting and inspiring to learn about work done at the intersection of the public and private sectors.
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 our
page to learn more about our range of fellowship opportunities.