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Alumni: Where Are They Now? with Maria Rein

Posted January 23, 2019

We recently caught up with former employee Maria Rein to hear what she's been up to since leaving the firm!

What was your role while at Development Guild?

Maria in Dover, England

Maria in Dover, England

I got to wear many hats at Development Guild. I started at the firm as Bill’s assistant; I supported his sales and projects, while also working as a search coordinator. I also provided support to Kieran and Allen for a period. Once I became an associate, I started managing our conferences, events, and memberships while continuing to give project support on our search engagements. After some time, I began reporting to Susan and  was also promoted to consultant. From there, I took on our marketing work, as well; I managed website updates and writing, our social media program which was new at the time, and organized content for our internal and external newsletters.

What did you take away from your time here that has served you well in your career?

This was my first real professional job out of college, and it was a true learning experience, especially working with Bill right off-the-bat. Bill taught me a number of ‘rules’ that I carry with me until this day: attention to detail is key, an agenda is always a good idea, networking is everything, and never hesitate to ask for advice.

My time at Development Guild also helped me realize how much I enjoyed being a project manager. Coordinating team members and tasks, ensuring we stay on target for our objectives, managing time and resources wisely – these are all tasks I greatly enjoy and do in my current role.

Lastly, I’d say Development Guild taught me how to look at an organization holistically and assess its strengths and needs from a variety of perspectives.. I currently work for MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, and we partner with grassroots women’s organizations on the frontlines of conflict and disaster to meet urgent needs and provide capacity building and legal advocacy support. A large element of our role as a partner is to assess these organizations and work together to strengthen program implementation and impact.

What have you been up to since leaving?

I left Development Guild in August of 2016 to complete a Master’s in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. At DG, I was particularly interested in our international clients—one of my favorites to work with was Partners in Health because I love their mission and work—so I decided to return to school to pursue this passion. I spent a year in London before graduating in December of 2017.

Since then, I’ve had a great job at MADRE in NYC. I’m currently a Program and Development Coordinator, which essentially means I raise and manage institutional funds from government, foundation and corporate funders and bridge our program, learning and evaluation and development teams to synthesize the impact of our programs to these funders.

I recently returned from a trip to Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan in November to meet with one of our largest partners, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI). OWFI operates a network of shelters and safe houses in Iraq to support women fleeing armed actors, honor killings, and other imminent forms of violence. It was a great opportunity to to work on-the-ground with our partner on program strategy, implementation and impact.

Do you have any advice you would like to give to incoming employees?

I would encourage incoming employees to speak up. One of the great advantages of a smaller firm is having the space to provide valuable input on projects and best practices. I always appreciated when Bill, Susan and my other project leads would encourage me to present my own assessment of a sale or project and to provide feedback and suggestions.

Maria and friends at their graduation from the London School of Economics and Political Science

Do you have a favorite memory from your time here?

That’s hard to pinpoint! I was really grateful for my colleagues. When I decided to leave the firm to pursue my Masters degree (at my dream school) I still remember the support and kindness I received from everyone. At the end of my time at the firm, after over 3 years, just knowing that I was moving onto a new stage in my career with the complete support and good will of everyone at DG – that was really special.

 

 

If you’re interested in becoming a part of the Development Guild team, you can explore our current openings here: Join Us.

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