The Do Good Institute hosted a roundtable discussion for the first cohort of TIAA Nonprofit Leadership Fellows, students who served as CSR interns for TIAA, TIAA leadership, including the company’s CEO Roger Ferguson, and School of Public Policy and Do Good Institute leadership. The intimate event gave the graduate students an opportunity to meet Ferguson, ask him about his career journey, and glean insights and leadership lessons.
School of Public Policy Dean Robert Orr and Do Good Institute Director Bob Grimm offered brief welcome remarks before turning the session over to the students, highlighting that this important collaboration is truly about developing the next generation of nonprofit leaders, and supporting and empowering them to transform the world for good.
"Roger Ferguson offered insight that went far beyond my expectations, he spoke beyond the position description of his role as CEO and enlightened those present about the true character of a leader: humility," said Zebradedra Hunter, TIAA Nonprofit Leadership Fellow and MPP ’19.
The students asked pointed questions around the impact of mentors, developing minority leaders and an inclusive workplace, deepening connections and collaboration between the corporate and nonprofit sectors, how to keep going after failure, and insight into staying motivated each day.
On leadership, Ferguson highlighted four traits that he believes makes a great leader: expertise, vision, empathy, and fortitude. On diversity, he said that it is important that diversity and inclusion are engrained in organizations, and at TIAA, instead of “you’re different from me,” look at it as “you’re different like me.” And, he encouraged students to always be open to feedback, questions, and conversations – he emphasized that will help make you a better leader, and ultimately have a clearer mission and better outcomes.
Following the roundtable, DGI hosted a reception with TIAA for students from across campus, including past Do Good Challenge winners and participants, iGive and Public Leadership students, Public Policy graduate students and more.
Morgan Tweedy, a freshman at University of Maryland, said, “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to speak at the TIAA reception. I met a lot of new and interesting people and it gave me the chance to share my story and my experiences with the iGive program, which I am looking forward to continuing in the spring semester.”
In May 2017, TIAA and the School of Public Policy’s Do Good Institute announced a multi-year collaboration, which includes three core areas: launching the TIAA Nonprofit Leadership Fellows Program, producing research and thought leadership, and tapping into TIAA’s nonprofit and financial expertise to mentor students who are involved in Maryland’s Do Good Campus initiatives.
The cornerstone of this collaboration is the new two-year TIAA Nonprofit Leadership Fellows Program for exceptional young professionals who are pursuing a Master of Public Policy or Master of Public Management degree with a specialization in nonprofit management and leadership. The Fellows program is a professional development program that provides tuition support, health benefits, stipend, paid internship with nonprofits, assistantships with DGI, and professional development opportunities including mentoring with TIAA execs. The first cohort of five fellows began this fall. The program is helping to equip the future nonprofit executives to lead high-performing organizations and create a pipeline of talented, diverse and prepared leaders who will drive highly effective nonprofits in creating sustainable change.