Team Career Stories

Rani Deshpande
Director, YouthSave

"Save the Children hires really talented people and knows how to manage them to their strengths."

My job at Save the Children:
I work in the Department of Hunger and Livelihoods in the Washington DC office and I direct a multi-country project called YouthSave. It is a consortium project, working with other agencies in four different countries, to make teen-friendly savings accounts available for low-income young people and to provide opportunities for financial education.

My background:
Right out of college, I worked for my parents import/export business, importing handicrafts from India. It taught me how important small business is in developing countries. I then joined the Peace Corps and spent time in West Africa working on small business development and micro finance. Then I went to grad school in International Affairs and Business, worked at the World Bank, and as a management consultant for non-profits. In this job I get to draw on what I've learned in most of those prior roles. International work is why I get up in the morning.

My skills:
Of course, it's important to have a technical knowledge of micro-finance, but the most important skills are general management and leadership. I work with a far-flung group of organizations and need to have a vision about the work we will do, get others to buy in, and then develop concrete plans and ways to measure accountability.

What I've learned:
I have really had to develop my leadership skills. I have been very lucky to work for some great managers here and have learned from them. I also recently took part in Save the Children's Senior Management Development Program. It was extremely helpful in developing leadership skills, particularly through feedback and executive coaching.

Why I love my job:
My colleagues really are my favorite part of my job. Save the Children hires really talented people and knows how to manage them to their strengths. It's not a cookie cutter approach. There's a diverse group of people, working to their individual strengths, in order to contribute to the whole.

Dave Hartman
Social Media Manager

"People really do care. It's important to keep them updated on the work that Save the Children is doing all over the world."

My job at Save the Children:
I manage Save the Children's social media networks. When anyone in the organization wants to share a story or information with our social media audience, that content passes through me. I also work closely with many of our corporate sponsors, peer organizations and artist ambassadors when they want to build awareness for campaigns raising funds or awareness for Save the Children.

How I got my job:
I started as a web content intern when I was in college. That was back in 2009 and at that time nobody was specifically dedicated to social media. After I graduated I worked part time for the organization, then as a consultant and finally in a full-time position. My job started to evolve more and more towards social media until, finally, in 2011 I moved into my current role to develop a more robust and consistent social media presence for the organization.

My skills:
Great communication skills are incredibly important. I interact with lots of different people in the organization. I often have to translate large, complex policy statements into 140 character tweets, so the ability to condense information and understand the appropriate audience for that information is also very important. And, of course, I need to be flexible and embrace change and technology so that I am ready to pivot quickly when new channels emerge or existing channels change. Social media is always evolving.

What motivates me:
The children. I've been able to spend some time in the field - in Kentucky visiting some of our education programs and at child friendly spaces Save the Children has set up as part of an Emergency Response. Seeing the work Save the Children does on the frontline is very rewarding and validates the desk work that I do.

Most satisfying job experience:
A professional video gamer and YouTube celebrity named “Athene” wanted to show his viewers what life is like for children in the world's largest refugee camp [located in Dadaab, Kenya]. I coordinated a 3 way chat between the camp, his viewers and STC headquarters. It was great to be able to share the work we do so directly with some of our supporters. People really do care. It's important to keep them updated on the work Save the Children is doing all over the world every single day.

Kendra Blackett-Dibinga
Advisor for Orphans and
Vulnerable Children Programs

"People at Save the Children encourage great ideas and push for innovation and out-of-the-box thinking."

My job at Save the Children:
I work in our Washington DC headquarters as an advisor to the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) programs. Our focus is primarily in Africa, developing programs to help protect some of the most vulnerable children in the world, particularly those impacted by HIV/AIDS. For the last 3 years, I have been helping the agency develop a signature program in the area of Early Childhood Development in the context of HIV/AIDS, outlining how to get the best results for the world's most vulnerable children.

My background:
I have always been interested in doing work in humanitarian aid. I got my undergraduate degree in International Affairs and African Studies, did a fellowship in Africa on Child Survival and then got my Masters in Public Health and Public Policy.

Why Save the Children:
I met some members of Save the Children's HIV team at an International AIDS conference and was really intrigued by the work they were doing to not only develop innovative solutions but to ensure best practices were shared and implemented consistently around the world. Save the Children has a great balance of people on the front lines in the field and people in headquarters offices gathering evidence about what works, measuring results and sharing best practices.

My skills:
In my position I need to be able to process and analyze lots of information and continually push for better results. It's also important for me to be externally focused and stay up-to-date on what is happening in the field.

What I've learned:
Since coming to Save the Children I've learned how to take a project from the concept phase to a concrete proposal and then how to roll it out and make it happen. It's exciting to see programs come to life and produce real results.

What motivates me:
Although Save the Children is a very professional, corporate environment, people here really encourage great ideas and push for innovation and out-of the-box thinking. The environment is very stimulating and has led me to come up with some really creative solutions.

Angeline Martyn
Director, Corporate Partnerships

"I believe that the development and humanitarian projects that Save the Children engages with in the U.S. and around the world are world-class, life changing initiatives that would not be done without the critical and inspirational support of our corporate partners."

 My job at Save the Children:
I am thrilled to have joined Save the Children in August 2012 as Director of Corporate Partnerships which draws on my longstanding passions for engaging the corporate sector in the causes of humanitarian and development work, and enables me to work with the Fortune 100 companies whose best practices and values-based decision-making so closely match my own beliefs.

Why Save the Children:
I've long admired the ethos and tenets that make Save the Children one of the world's most respected brands. My experiences working in the field have consistently shown me that the high-impact work of Save the Children makes a significant difference in the lives of children and their families. I love that our reach stretches around the globe, and here in the US. The local-global impact was an important part of my desire to work here.

My skills:
One of my favorite things about this role is matching storytelling with the passions of our partners. I have always enjoyed writing, creative presentations, and making the technical accessible. Corporate engagement and resource mobilization are all about leveraging the best into something even better, and I have always valued using voice, advocacy, research and images to help paint the most vivid picture that I can, to achieve the deepest impact.

What motivates me:
When I travel, I meet women and children who had never been to a hospital, never been to a school - until they were connected with an entity like Save the Children. Save the Children knows many of these children, and is committed to their growth, development, and training. I believe that the development and humanitarian projects that Save engages with in the U.S. and around the world are world-class, life changing initiatives, that would not be done without the critical and inspirational support of our corporate partners. It is a privilege to be able to serve as a liaison and advocate for this work every day.

What gives me the most satisfaction?
There are two distinct tracks that make me want to come to work every day. It's the colleagues- my staff, the corporate team, and the agency at large - all phenomenal individuals with a passion for the mission and diverse career paths that brought them to Save. And, it's the conversations with our partners, be it bringing new corporations into our fold or simply hearing from them about what draws them to us - our disaster relief work or achieving lasting change for children. The enthusiasm for our work alongside the understanding of the critical needs of children, felt both by our employees and our partners, drives me to put my best effort forward.

Gary Shaye
Senior Director, Humanitarian Operations

"I never forget that Save the Children can only do what we do because people trust us."

My job at Save the Children:
Since joining Save the Children as an intern 37 years ago, I've worn lots of different hats. I spent my first 12 years with the organization in the field, directing sponsorship programs in the Dominican Republic, opening the agency's offices in Nepal and running operations in Bhutan. I came back to the U.S. in the late ‘80s to direct International programs from headquarters but went back to the field in 2003 to run operations in Bolivia. My last international assignment was running the offices in Haiti, following the 2010 earthquake. I am currently back in the U.S. working as Senior Director for Humanitarian Operations, responsible for resource development related to Emergency Responses. I consider myself very fortunate to have had such extensive experience in the field. It is very helpful in my current role as it helps me connect what is needed in the field with donors. I never forget that Save the Children can only do what we do because people trust us.

My background:
I joined the Peace Corps as a volunteer working in Peru right after college. It was a life-changing experience. Instead of pursuing hotel management, which is what I'd studied as an undergraduate, I decided to get my Masters in International Studies. That led to my internship at Save the Children and to my entire professional career.

Watching the organization grow:
The biggest change I've seen at Save the Children in my 37 years with the organization is the scale of our operations. When I joined, we were working in 12 countries around the world, now it's 120 countries. As we've joined forces with other member organizations, we have access to far greater resources and our impact is much greater as a result. There has also been a concerted focus on understanding what works, measuring results, and sharing best practices globally. We are also geared up to address emergency work in a much more meaningful way, both in the U.S. and internationally, than we have ever been before.

My skills:
One of the most important skills I've used across all my different positions is the ability to build effective teams. Being able to hire the right people, motivate them, and then get people with different backgrounds and skills to work together effectively has been critically important in every role I've had.

What motivates me:
The commitment and passion of everyone I work with - including our staff, trustees, foundations and corporate sponsors - is incredibly motivating. And, it has been my privilege to witness firsthand the life-altering work Save the Children does all over the world - whether saving lives through our cholera program in Haiti, seeing kids go to school who would have never had that chance, or empowering women to take development into their own hands. It's important work that changes lives and I feel very fortunate to have had a part in it.

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