Distinctive Alumni of CMC: Non-Profit and Education
Distinctive Alumni of CMC is a new column on The Forum that will feature distinguished CMC alumni members. Along with the Soll Center for Student Opportunity’s monthly cluster group, this column aims to highlight prominent alumni in various fields of work. Distinguished Alum Amy Nelson, CMC Class of ‘05
Amy Nelson ‘05 currently serves as CEO of Venture for America, a non-profit that aims to revitalize American cities and communities through entrepreneurship by training recent graduates and young professionals to work for startups in emerging cities throughout the United States.
Graduating in 2005, she received her B.A. in philosophy and government with honors. While at CMC, she was a recipient of the Sydney J. Rosenberg Award for Debate, and would later go on to become a Fulbright Scholar where she conducted research after graduation.
Later on, Nelson worked with Relief International in Los Angeles, an organization that strives to reduce the suffering of people living in underserved, war-affected and remote areas. As an education program officer at Relief International, Nelson collaborated with remote communities stricken by war-induced violence and gender inequality.
Nelson then transitioned to an associate position at Benevolent Nation in Los Angeles, a company that works to create sustainability of tax-exempt organizations. Through this role, Nelson says she learned the idea of “optimizing fundraising, management and consulting expertise” to help more people in need of basic rights and health facilities such as access to education, proper sanitation, etc.
Following her time at Benevolent Nation, Nelson pursued her post-graduate studies at NYU's Stern School of Business. She received her MBA in Economics, Social Innovation, and Impact in 2013.
While pursuing her degree, Nelson worked as the MBA Associate at B Lab in New York. A non-profit organization, B Lab encourages people to use business for the prosperity of society. Part of her job included research, business development, and product strategy for B Analytics and the Global Impact Investing Rating System.
In 2016, Nelson joined Venture for America as Managing Director, and in September 2017, she was offered the position of CEO.
As a prominent female leader, Nelson was interviewed by Forbes. A firm believer in gender equality, Nelson says, “Gender is such a nuanced thing; companies need to find a better way to approach communication to catch up with the times.” She said she has been fortunate enough to have not faced overt sexism in her career. Working in the nonprofit sector has given her the opportunity to work with “amazing female bosses and mentors.”
To young aspiring leaders, she says, “Avoid asking for raises and promotions too quickly, and generally speaking, this is good advice for those starting out in their careers. Show your worth through your work.”