Tell us about your decision to get your MBA at CSUSM?
I chose to get my MBA at CSUSM for a few reasons. It was an option that was close to home. The FEMBA program also allowed me to continue working full-time, which was a huge bonus for me. The layout of the program was also a selling point, with taking one class at a time for 5 weeks and being able to complete it in 18-months. This seemed like the best way to balance both school and work. I also liked the idea of a cohort.
Where has you career path taken you since graduating?
Since graduating I transitioned my career path from working at a large insurance company, to working for a smaller non-profit organization in Carlsbad.
Tell us about your current organization?
I currently work for Kathy’s Legacy Foundation (kathyslegacy.org). It is a non-profit in Carlsbad whose mission is to serve children and pets impacted by domestic violence. We revive hope, restore normalcy, and inspire dreams in the lives of all victims of intimate partner violence.
Out Silver Lining Program supports children that have been orphaned due to the murder of a parent from domestic violence. In some cases, the children witnessed the murder, the immediate aftermath, called 911, and provided CPR in attempts to save their mother’s lives.
For current victims of domestic violence, many chose to not leave their current situation for fear of leaving their pets behind. As a result, Kathy’s Legacy has been working with community partners to ensure pets are part of the conversation and eventual solution for assisting victims. This is our Lady’s Legacy program.
Tell us about your role?
I am the Program Manager for Kathy’s Legacy. I work closely with our Executive Director collaborating and brainstorming to ensure we are supporting our Silver Lining children. Every day for me is different - from planning family outings, managing our donor, volunteer and gift databases, to checking in with the families to assess their needs, creating fundraising strategies and events, managing social media, engaging with donors, to attending workshops within the community.
What is your favorite part of your job?
It is truly an honor to be able to make a difference in the lives of these children. They have lived through a horribly traumatic event and it brings me joy to be able to provide them fun, joyful childhood experiences, which remind them they are not alone and having a parent murdered due to DV is not their story.
As a mama to a fur baby, it is also incredibly empowering being able to discuss with decision leaders and changemakers within our community to make sure that pets are not forgotten victims of domestic violence and bringing to light that a person’s healing includes their pets.
Alex at the Kathy’s Legacy fundraiser, Reviving Hope, in 2019. Also pictured, fiancé David Lewis who is also an alumnus.
Important lessons you have learned in management/leadership roles?
I believe it is incredibly important to have strong communication and ask questions when you have them. I have learned that no one person is going to have all the answers to everything. As a leader, it is important to seek opinions and expertise from others that may be more knowledgeable or experienced. I have truly respected leaders that seek guidance when needed.
Tell us about your role in the Alumni Association and what it means to you?
I am the secretary of the MBA Alumni Board. We had an incredibly awesome cohort during our program that honestly felt like one big family and that made the MBA program a million times better. Having that experience makes me excited about growing our alumni association. Being a part of the alumni association allows us to grow our network of business professionals on the foundation of going through a shared experience. Our events provide opportunities for us all to get together on a regular basis and to catch-up, socialize and network. We are also able to support and provide guidance to students that are currently going through the program. I think it is really important that we stay connected.
Any advice for students or alumni?
For students, I would say that your success does not detract from anyone else’s. Our cohort made a sincere effort to make sure we all supported one another through each class. This made the marathon of the FEMBA program that much more doable and enjoyable. Also take time to celebrate – we always went to lunch or happy hour at the end of a class as a cohort. Join the alumni association!
What is your favorite memory from CSUSM MBA?
One of my favorite memories was during our Leadership class we had a project about the airline industry. My project group typically went full out with our presentations, but this was one of our best because we dressed the part and made our whole presentation as if we were on a plane. (photo below)
I also loved all of our gatherings outside of the program from end of class happy hours, cohort bachelorette parties and Christmas – we did it all together.
Alex pictured with leadership class team members during presentation.