I currently work as the Program Director for a local non-profit organization called First Serve. We are an education and mentoring organization that uses sports to get through to children from high crime and poverty-ridden areas. Our program consists of tennis, soccer, basketball, education, tutoring, mentoring with law-enforcement officials and robotics. My role is to oversee all the programs and make sure our staff is giving their best to the children we serve. I also recruit volunteers and ensure both volunteers and students in the program are having a great experience with us. Lastly, I am in charge of most administrative duties behind the scenes to ensure our organization can continue operating.
Before I started working for First Serve, the only experience I had was as a tennis instructor. I completed my Bachelors degree in athletic training, so my field of study wasn't even close to the job I ended up getting. I have had to learn a lot of the administrative things as I go. However, it was my passion for underprivileged kids, as well as my knowledge of tennis, that influenced and opened the doors for me to land this job. When I started working here, my position was as an executive assistant. I applied myself, which allowed me to get a promotion and take over more responsibilities. I am currently in the MBA program at PBA to further my knowledge so I can do a better job.
I wish I knew a little bit more about budgeting and managing finances. It's really easy to spend money when you don't have bills to pay yet, and you don't truly realize the value of money.
"In college, I grew a lot as a person and I was able to discover what my purpose in life was."
Despite the fact that I went to work in a field different than what I went to school for, my time at PBA taught me how to be responsible and disciplined. In college, I grew a lot as a person and I was able to discover what my purpose in life was. As an athletic trainer, I had to complete several rotations with different athletic teams. Being with different teams taught me how to adjust to different environments and how to work with different groups of people.
Go after your passion. It is very important when looking for a job to think of starting a career doing something you're passionate about and can see yourself doing for a long time. Try not to look for an unenjoyable job just to pay bills.
My boss, who is our CEO, has been a great mentor to me. I see his passion and how he works hard to lead us into the right direction. He has set high standards and has been a great example for me as I follow his lead while leading my staff as well.
Spotlight posted in September 2017. For current updates from Maria, visit the FirstServe website.