Kristen Davidse. PhillyPLUS Resident at Philadelphia’s Pathway to Leadership in Urban Schools. MBA with a Non-Profit Job.

Kristen shows us how the power of teaching can change lives. Her passion and dedication for helping others led her on a journey from the Ivy Leagues of Cornell to the gravel of Philly’s high schools and currently now as a PhillyPLUS Resident at PhillyPLUS (Philadelphia’s Pathways to Leadership in Urban Schools). Kristen got her post-MBA start to be meaningful through the Teach for America program- where recent grads commit at least two years of their career to teaching at urban and rural public schools. Bringing her intellect to bare to help solve the challenges of inner city education, Kristen analyzes student data looking for ways to improve curriculum and help teachers teach. Kristen is making the world a better place one lesson-plan at a time.

How do you define meaningful work?
Meaningful work helps improve an aspect of society that is overlooked or de-emphasized.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a meaningful career?
I graduated from Cornell with a degree in Hospitality Management and started a manager’s training program at Harrah’s Entertainment in Atlantic City; it was there that I realized. I spent a lot of time talking with cocktail waitresses, barbacks, and slot attendants, usually about their kids. Sometimes I would help them with their children’s homework and college applications. I found it frustrating to see them work so hard to create a better life for their children, but not have the English or math skills to help them succeed in school. I knew that a meaningful career would be a better fit for me, but I wasn’t sure what type so I decided to go back to school and get my MBA at the Rotman School of Business while I explored my opportunities.

How did you get your current meaningful job?
I got my job by applying to Teach For America. It was an online application where my resume and cover letter happened to stand out.  At least once a month, I attend an event for young professionals in education to develop and maintain contacts at the different education networks in the city. It is a small field and networking helps me find out about future opportunities before they are posted.

What’s one thing you wish someone told you before you pursued a meaningful career?
It is not about defending your career choice, but rather about enjoying it every day.

What’s the most fulfilling part of your job?
The phone call in the evening informing me that a student has received a college acceptance letter and that she will be the first one to graduate high school let alone go to college. I feel like I am helping to break the cycle of poverty.

What’s one thing most people wouldn’t expect to hear about being in a meaningful job?
Meaningful jobs may pay less, but that does not mean they are less demanding. The hours are not nine to five. Instead we often have to work nights, weekends, and early mornings. My days starts at 7:30am and ends whenever I am finished with my responsibilities for the day, not when the clock hits a certain hour.

It is not about defending your career choice, but rather about enjoying it every day.

What’s your salary range?

What advice would you give to someone looking to get a meaningful job?
Do it because you love it, not to get into a great graduate school or get a job with a top consulting firm. Spend time in the field you are interested in by volunteering before you make a career decision to ensure that this is the right fit for you.

Where do you see your career in 10 years?
I would love to be consulting for School Districts on how to improve their pipeline through college and not just to college.

If you could have one super hero power what would it be?


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1 Comment

  1. Alexis
    June 13, 2013 at 3:25 am — Reply

    In today’s society, one that seems to value status and money, it is great to see people pursuing something they are passionate about. I appreciate the piece of advice with regards to volunteering before making a potential career change. It might be easier said than done depending on the job, but definitely worth investigating to see if volunteer opportunities are available. Thanks!

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