Alumni Spotlight: Andrew Galen

by Tynan Gable,

Not unto ourselves alone are we born: Andrew Galen, a Class of 2017 Willamette MBA alum, has truly taken our school motto to heart. After graduating just over a year ago, he wasted no time before becoming heavily involved in both the Salem and Willamette communities.

As the Director of Strategic Initiatives for United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, Andrew serves as a project manager for all initiatives. Most United Way branches have only the capacity to focus their efforts on funding community organizations. However, Andrew’s role in servicing Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties involves strategic projects directly focused on alleviating some of the most critical issues in our communities.

One of Andrew’s most recent projects was Taylor’s House, a home for youth experiencing homelessness in Marion and Polk counties. In partnership with the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, Andrew’s role in this project was to raise funds and facilitate the acquisition of the property before handing over the keys to allow day-to-day operations to begin.

Andrew’s passion for working in the nonprofit sector is deep-rooted, but he credits the Willamette MBA program for the knowledge and skills he relies upon to perform his job well. As Andrew acknowledges, most projects in the nonprofit sector are done within the constraints of a given organization’s narrow mission statement and prioritized issues, but his job is ever-changing and involves a lot of strategic decision making.

While it is essential to have people and organizations completely dedicated to specific causes, Andrew enjoys the freedom his job allows and the opportunity to utilize the financial and operational skills acquired from his MBA coursework. He believes so wholeheartedly in the Willamette MBA program and its unique incorporation of not-for-profit management that he has returned to the school to co-instruct the Grant Administration course alongside Associate Professor of Accounting Practice, Nicole Thibodeau.

Grant Administration: Concept to Consequence is a consequential learning course that was introduced at the Willamette MBA school for the first time just two years ago. Andrew was fortunate to be a member of the course’s first cohort and is proud to say that, to his knowledge, no other MBA school has a program quite like it. It is through this course that Andrew built the skills and connections that led him to his job at United Way.

Andrew sees this teaching role as one small way he can continue to be involved and connected with the Willamette community, encouraging more future business leaders to think about opportunities in the nonprofit sector. Furthermore, he hopes to be a leader in bridging  Willamette with the community that surrounds the school and to exponentially increase the lasting impact he is able to make on the Mid-Willamette Valley as we know it.

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