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Winning Voices: Brooke Montes, Director of Administration & Communications, Alliance for Positive Change

Winning Voices: Brooke Montes, Director of Administration & Communications, Alliance for Positive Change

Brooke Montes
Director of Administration & Communications
Alliance for Positive Change
Program/Concentration: Jack Welch MBA

PLEASE SHARE MORE ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL ROLE AND RESPONSIBLITIES.:

I am the Director of Administration & Communications at Alliance for Positive Change, a nonprofit community-based organization located in New York City. Alliance for Positive Change provides supportive services for people living with HIV and chronic health conditions. Our services range from HIV testing and prevention, medical case management, and treatment adherence to addressing basic needs such as food and housing. Additionally, we offer peer training, career readiness counseling, and harm reduction and recovery support for substance users.

In my role as the Director of Administration & Communications, I am responsible for overseeing all internal and external communications, branding, marketing, policy work, advocacy efforts, and our Pharmacy Access/Treatment Adherence program for HIV+ individuals to stay adherent to medication. I also provide support to the executive team and serve as a liaison to the Board of Directors.

WHY WERE YOU LOOKING TO GET AN MBA?:

I was interested in a leadership role within my organization and knew that pursuing an MBA would help prepare me. At first, I was apprehensive. Balancing work and school seemed overwhelming, and I did not want to stop working. I knew I would need a flexible online program to make it realistic. I was very happy to find the Jack Welch Management Institute. The program seemed doable, applicable, and cost-effective.

DID YOU FIND THE CURRICULUM WAS IMMEDIATELY APPLICABLE? PLEASE EXPLAIN.:

I was surprised by how quickly I could apply what I was learning to my work. The first few courses covered executive presence, leading effective teams, and communications—all areas in which I already had experience. However, there is always room for improvement! I consider the most important takeaway from the program to be building strong teams, and I was able to improve the way I lead almost immediately.

I also improved communication practices, especially when it comes to gaining buy-in. The program reinforced the idea that people need to hear a message in different ways and multiple times. Just because a message is in a companywide email doesn’t mean people receive or understand it. I have grown in my ability to repeat the message and be okay with overcommunicating.

LOOKING BACK AT WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT AN ONLINE PROGRAM WHEN YOU FIRST EMBARKED, WHAT WAS YOUR OVERALL IMPRESSION NOW? DID IT MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS VIA DQ BOARDS, EOP VIDEOS, FACULTY ETC?:

I was not sure what to expect, considering we did not have online tools when I was an undergrad. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to grasp the technology and expectations of an online program. I thoroughly enjoyed learning through weekly readings and the EOP videos. The discussion boards (DQ boards) helped me stay on track with the material each week, and I found my classmates to be engaging and supportive. While I may have procrastinated and dreaded adding two DQ replies every Sunday night, overall, I appreciate that the online program was effective and manageable.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE IN THE PROGRAM?:

Finishing – and finishing strong! While I could have coasted more towards the end with no impact on my grades, I remained engaged to get the most out of it. I particularly enjoyed learning about strategy and how to make change stick. Applying what I learned in the program to my work feels great.

PLEASE SHARE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW STUDENTS EMBARKING ON THE MBA JOURNEY.:

When I started the MBA program, I had been out of school for over 10 years. There was a learning curve—I had to remember how to cite sources in an academic paper. Incoming students should not be afraid of re-entering the academic world, even if they have been out of it for a bit. All the professors are friendly and nurturing, and everyone I interacted with wanted the students to succeed.


Connect with Brooke Montes on LinkedIn.

For more information on the Jack Welch Management Institute, visit us.

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