2015-03-26

By Jessie Weiser, Senior Manager of Human Potential and Site Operations

Behind every good City Year AmeriCorps member is a talented Program Manager (PM).  The PM role is perhaps the most rewarding and challenging staff position at City Year Boston. Program Managers spend the majority of their time in our partner schools leading teams of corps members through a 10-month journey of learning, reflection and service. We have an incredibly diverse, talented, and dedicated team of PMs—but, what’s it really like to be a Program Manager? We asked a few of them to tell us more about their experiences.

Anthony Britt joined the City Year Boston staff in 2012, after teaching 8th-grade science through Teach for America. From then through 2014, he led the Sun Life Financial team with Mattahunt Elementary School. He currently supports our AmeriCorps members as one of our Impact Coaches.

 
“The PM role is all-encompassing. We’re responsible for making sure that corps members and staff at City Year Boston, and the teachers and administrators at our school, all align to serve our students. It’s definitely a challenge to triangulate all of the different personalities and interests that are involved. […] One of my favorite things about this role has been seeing my corps members grow as people and as professionals. The experience of coaching corps members through this growth has helped to prepare me for any future jobs that involve management. It has also been really nice to have a community of 20 PMs, because we can talk about issues and share best practices. Most of my friends working at other non-profits don’t have the same community of support—it’s great to have so many capable, mission-driven people serving in the same role.”

Cate Reynolds served as a corps member and Team Leader at Irving Middle School before joining our staff in 2013. She currently leads the National Grid team with Blackstone Innovation School.

 
“Serving in the corps was a life-changing experience for me. I thought I would just do a year of service, but I came to City Year and fell in love, and my career path changed. Now, I definitely want to continue my career in the education sector. I wanted to become a Program Manager because I wanted the chance to guide other people through the transformative experience that I had as a corps member.  […] Of course, it’s also very challenging to manage recent high school and college graduates, while also building a strong partnership with our school. Mostly, I have been surprised by how different this role feels from serving in the corps. As a PM, I have a lot of autonomy, and I set the tone for my team, so I really have to really figure out what kind of leader/manager I want to be. I also spend a lot more time thinking about big-picture questions, like how this organization can more effectively impact the lives of our students.”

Julia Leb joined our staff immediately after getting her master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. From 2010 to 2014, she led the Comcast | NBCUniversal team at Burke High School.

 
“Every day is different. I get to interact with a variety of stakeholders including students, families, corps members, senior corps members, teachers, administrators, and school partners—and, have different responsibilities to each of those groups. I’m expected to wear many different hats and to think quickly on my feet. There are definitely hard days, when I really need to rely on my support network within the organization to get through. But, all of this has taught me a lot about myself. As I navigate the various relationships and situations in my school, I am learning what I do well and what I could do better. I’ve gained skills that will be applicable to whatever I do next—whether that’s managing people, using data, conducting trainings or workshops, leading direct service projects, teaching young people, working as a school administrator, or doing an office job at a non-profit.”

Are you interested in joining the Program Manager team or learning more about career opportunities at City Year Boston? We’re accepting applications. Be sure check our jobs site for this and other career openings!

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