|Gina Cassinelli , Citizen Schools|
|Citizen Schools Citizen Schools' website|
Gina traveled for a year after working for a corporation for two decades. Refreshed and ready to go, she became an Encore Fellow and figured out her next steps.
Gina Cassinelli spent more than 20 years at the Hewlett Packard Company in “a job I loved,” she says. Over the course of her career at HP, she worked in various senior-level marketing positions and really enjoyed the people she worked with and the fast-paced environment. But at age 50 she took a breather from her career in the corporate sector and traveled for a year, taking a car trip around the country and visiting all the “flyover states” she had crisscrossed as a road warrior in the corporate sector.
After having time on the open road to think about her future, she returned revived and eager to launch a new stage of her life. “I knew I wanted to delve into nonprofit work and somehow provide more of a service with the skills that I had obtained over so many years of working,” she says.
Getting started was harder than she thought. When a former colleague from HP told her about a pilot program being launched in Silicon Valley that helped transition experienced adults into high-impact work at local nonprofits, she immediately applied. The Silicon Valley Encore Initiative, run by Encore.org and jointly funded by HP and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, selected Cassinelli in the first class of Encore Fellows. She was matched with Citizen Schools, a national network of after-school education programs for students in the middle grades, as a part-time, yearlong fellow starting in January 2009.
Only a few months into the fellowship, she was immersed in drafting a comprehensive marketing plan to raise awareness about the entrepreneurial work of Citizen Schools to enhance the academic achievement of low-income, middle-school students. Toward the end of her fellowship, Cassinelli was asked to stay on as interim Executive Director for Citizen Schools.
Cassinelli has found tremendous fulfillment in focusing her skills and expertise on the development of young people and is excited about what’s next in her new career path.
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