By Karen Kelly
When Kelsey Baerg first heard of the Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (MPNL) degree, she was working for a nonprofit organization in her hometown of Nelson, British Columbia.
She was ready to take on a new challenge, and prepare for the next step in her career. The MPNL seemed like the perfect fit.
“I was looking for something that would provide leadership strategies for organizations and the sector as a whole,” says Baerg. “I liked the focus on organizational development, fundraising, stakeholder relations, and the big picture strategy.”
Baerg also appreciated the ability to pursue the MPNL degree online, while continuing to work full-time in Nelson. She started with a two-week intensive course on the Carleton campus, which she credits for her success.
“It was amazing. You really get a sense of the other students and the professors, who created a welcoming and relaxed environment from the beginning,” says Baerg. “I also loved coming to Ottawa—especially being from a rural community.”
She found the two-week course created a team environment that continued throughout the degree program.
“We worked well together because we created deep relationships during those two weeks,” she explains. “We created lifelong friendships and have a huge online support network now.”
Baerg says the degree, which she describes as an MBA for the nonprofit sector, also helped her transition to her current position in Advancement at Selkirk College.
“It changed my entire professional life. I didn’t expect to be drawn to fundraising, but that sparked my interest the most within the program. It helped me realize this is a very service-oriented field—as fundraisers, we are providing donors with a tangible way to evoke change,” she explains. “I wouldn’t have found or been qualified for this position before the program. It has allowed me to bring a sector-wide view of Canadian philanthropy to my rural roots.”
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