Brittany Curtis (’13) uses Management to Aid a Non-Profit

I transferred to UNC Asheville Fall 2010. I had been a theater major, switched to biology, and ended up graduating with a BS in Management in 2013. I am so thankful for that last jump to Management, and the guidance and wisdom of Dr. Micheal Stratton. I also joined the sorority Gamma Phi Beta, and had a blast as their Financial Vice President and Webmaster.

I currently live in Brooklyn, NY. I work as a Workforce Development Instructor at a non-profit organization that runs homeless shelters and provides transitional services, including occupational training opportunities. The individuals I work with have histories of incarceration, substance abuse, and chronic homelessness. I facilitate soft skills classes, such as Communication, Boundaries, Professionalism, Customer Service, and Conflict Resolution, and help create new and updated curriculum for clients and staff.

-Can you tell us about your first job search?

My first job search was at the tail end of a solo cross-country road trip. I made it to Seattle, visiting family, almost completely broke, and had to decide my next steps. I had enough money to get me back across the country, but not much more. I decided to search for jobs in New York City – I have several friends who live and work in NYC, had visited several times and loved the city, and knew I would have a couch to sleep on if I was able to get an interview. I looked on different job searching websites, but ultimately found my current job on Craigslist.

I only applied to one job. I did not think I would be given a chance at a “real” job in New York City, particularly since my work experience was limited to Asheville and my small home town of Brevard, NC. I updated my resume while curled up on a couch in Seattle, using the UNCA Career Center website resources as my guides. After creating the most beautiful cover letter of my life and a polished new resume, I submitted my application.

I drove from Seattle to NYC in 5 days. The day after I arrived, I received a phone call from the organization I applied to!

-What experiences have best prepared you for your current professional role?

Having assistant manager experience at the UNCA Telephone Outreach Program was what convinced my potential employers to hire me. I helped train students in the call center and aided in supervising shifts, and my position required experience in training. Furthermore, my national travels and experiences in different American cities prepared me to work with the diverse population of NYC.

-What is next for you?

I’m considering graduate school – possibly a MS in Human Resources Management or MBA with a focus in Human Resources. But I have to take the GRE first- wish me luck! My other option is to move to a more Human Resources oriented job, and gain more experience before delving back into school. I’m trying to decide in the next few months.

-What do you know now that you wish you knew as a student?

Volunteer more. You might not be getting paid, but the experience is massively important. You can also make amazing connections that could help lead you to a job.

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