Katie Alford ('99) | College of Business Administration
Community Foundation of Abilene
Though ACU alum Katie Alford didn't set out to work for a non-profit organization, she finds her position as president and CEO of Community Foundation of Abilene suits her well.
"I love the sector because the environment and mind-set of most is not about the bottom line," she says. "It is driven by the needs of the community and figuring out how to solve problems with as little as possible."
The Community Foundation of Abilene is a nonprofit grantmaker and community builder. "We serve two main client bases - the donor who has a heart for the community and is looking for ways in which they can give back and the nonprofit organization seeking grants and educational resources," Katie explains. "The ultimate goal of the Community Foundation of Abilene is to give back to the community for generations to come."
Katie earned her bachelor of business administration degree from ACU in 1999 with a major in Finance.
ACU's College of Business Administration provided Katie with an educational experience that she has found to be "invaluable," she says. "ACU as a college definitely has a more intimate, family-like feel to it when compared to other universities. You could connect with your professors easily."
She also appreciates that the university is "always open to being flexible and trying new things," she says. "That is obvious when I look at what has already changed over the past 10 years since I graduated."
Q&A with Katie Alford
What do you like best about your current position?
I love getting to talk to the people that want to do something more for our community and possibly leave a legacy behind. Having their names on an endowment fund ensures that they're always remembered for the values they had and for what they cared for while they were still alive. The donors I work with care about a variety of issues and/or fields of interest. For example, some have a passion for arts and culture, some care deeply about animals, others about children, education, health and human services, the homeless and hungry, etc.
What other positions have you held?
Right out of college I worked for an investment consultant, Paul Schnitman, and then worked for Hendrick Medical Center as an accountant. Actually those two jobs were melded perfectly into one when I came to the Community Foundation. I started out as the Finance Director and oversaw the investments and accounting. Having the financial experience and background were very beneficial to me when I was named the President/CEO.
Any tradeoffs you took to work in the non-profit sector?
Possibly, but I think going to a job every day that is rewarding and makes you feel like you're giving something back is a perk that offsets that.
What career advice would you offer to current students?
You have to genuinely love people and have their best interest in mind - not your own. I think that probably applies to any successful career no matter what field you're interested in. Loving what you do and having a passion for it is key to having a healthy career.
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