Colleen Connell '05, Regional Director, Latin America & Caribbean, Clinton Health Access Initiative
Assistance from the Loan Forgiveness Program made Connell's switch to the nonprofit sector possible.
Before I came to SOM, I worked at Lehman Brothers, doing research on junk bonds. I liked what I was doing, but it wasnít what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I spent all my free time doing community service, and I wanted to find a way to combine my Wall Street skills and my passion for community service. I specifically decided to apply to SOM because of its strength in nonprofit and public management. I knew going in that thatís what I wanted to do. I just wasnít sure how.
SOM was fabulous. I was interested in international development, and I got to take advantage of the World Fellows Program, which was one of my favorite parts of being at Yale. I did my summer internship at the International Finance Corporation at the World Bank, in the Health and Education Group. I ended up there because of SOM networking ó I was able to talk to an alum who was working there, and she passed my resumé along.
After SOM, I went to work at Booz Allen, in the federal public sector practice, which gave me some great consulting skills. When I found a job at the Clinton Health Access Initiative that I wanted, I decided to switch careers.
Iím the regional director for the Latin America and Caribbean for the Clinton Health Access Initiative. A large part of my job is helping the countries in the Caribbean do their forecasting to quantify the drugs needed for the next year or two. That fits right into my Wall Street experience. Iím also helping countries scale up their pediatric treatment ó diagnosing children earlier, getting them on treatment if they need to be on treatment, bringing them into the system ó and working with ministries of health, particularly in Trinidad, Jamaica, the Bahamas, to expand their care and treatment centers throughout the country.
I really like my job. It was a great switch for me, and the Loan Forgiveness Program allowed me to make it. I took a 20% pay cut, which was significant for me, because I still have student loans. And I live in D.C., so rent and living expenses are high. The Loan Forgiveness Program was a big part of my decision to take the job. I called Karen Wellman in the financial aid office and said, ďAm I going to qualify for this?Ē The program eased the concern that I had on the financial side, because I knew that I would at least be getting a little bit of help. And that made me a little bit more comfortable about taking the risk of switching jobs.
Interviewed on December 17, 2007.
Learn about the Loan Forgiveness Program.