“The Carlow degree will prepare you for the leadership challenges that you cannot anticipate until you are experiencing them.”
Jessi Dobos Marsh is passionate about addressing homelessness. She’s worked directly with men, women, and children who are disconnected from society. She’s heard their stories, and she wants to make a difference in their lives.
“I want to help them address the issues that led them to homelessness,” she says, “and help them become productive members of society once again.”
Marsh is director of development at the Light of Life Rescue Mission on Pittsburgh’s North Side, a nonprofit rescue mission that provides shelter, food, and hope to more than 1,000 individuals each year.
Her desire to help those less fortunate developed while volunteering at a homeless shelter in Athens, Ohio, while she was a college student. After graduation, she turned down writing and advertising opportunities in New York City to accept a position as the shelter’s volunteer coordinator.
“I couldn’t shake that feeling,” she says. She needed to follow her heart.
Marsh was soon trained as a case manager at the shelter and, within a few years, moved to Seattle, where she worked as volunteer coordinator and regional program manager for Catholic Community Services.
In 2005, not long after returning to Pittsburgh, Marsh secured a position as director of youth programs at Community Human Services Corporation in Oakland—right down the street from Carlow University.
It didn’t take long for her to discover that a graduate degree from Carlow was just what she needed.
“I decided that if I was meant for leadership, I had better learn some things to prepare for my next step,” she recalls.
Marsh enrolled in Carlow’s Master of Science in Professional Leadership Program (a curriculum that is now rolled into Carlow’s MBA program), and that’s where it all came together.
At Carlow, she took classes with mature professionals who shared pertinent experiences—and provided invaluable networking opportunities. Thanks to a fellow Carlow classmate, Marsh learned about an opening for a major gifts officer at Light of Life in 2009. Within a year and a half she was Light of Life’s director of development.
“The skills I learned at Carlow are still extremely useful to me,” she says. “As director of development, not only am I responsible for raising a $6 million dollar operating budget, but I’m also part of the executive team and have a voice in deciding how the organization moves forward.”
Carlow’s program gave her the foundation she was looking for—as well as much-needed scheduling flexibility. She gave birth to her daughter while finishing her degree and changing jobs.
“Carlow is definitely the place to be for working parents,” says Marsh. “If you have a job and have to get home to your kids, and you need that flexibility to write a paper at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning, this is the program for you.”
She emphasizes the practicality of a graduate business degree from Carlow for professionals seeking to advance within management. But there’s more to it than that, she adds. “A Carlow degree is going to help you meet your goals, “she says. “But, more importantly, it will prepare you for the leadership challenges that you cannot anticipate until you are experiencing them.”
Find out more about Carlow’s flexible MBA Program.