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Working to Develop Women Leaders

Megan Abraham in November became executive director of the Goldie B. Wolfe Miller Women Leaders in Real Estate Initiative.

A 2006 School of Public Service graduate, Abraham previously served as executive director at Bayit Afterschool, which filled critical childcare needs for families.

Abraham shared her thoughts on her SPS experience and on her new role at The Goldie Initiative, which prepares women for senior leadership roles in all sectors of commercial real estate.

Q: What inspired you to get into associations/nonprofits/public service?
My professional experience in the association world began after 9/11/01. Previously, I had been working for an entrepreneurial for-profit international executive education

After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and the subsequent market downturn, there was a
decrease in corporate spending on perks for senior executives. My international experience landed me a job with the National Association of Realtors (NAR), in their department of International Operations, where my global experience was very valuable.

Plus, the events of 9/11 inspired me to pursue a more meaningful career in the
non-profit world. NAR helped pay for my DePaul graduate degree through a generous
tuition reimbursement program, and my supervisors found that my education enhanced my performance considerably. Pursuing the degree was a win-win for me and my employer.​

Q: How did you come about getting your new position?
The combination of my master's-level education, my experience in the real estate
association field and my most recent work in non-profit social innovation were what landed me in my new position. It was a great fit.

Q: What inspires you about it?
I am inspired to help develop women leaders, especially considering the most
recent political developments in our country. The commercial real estate field — unlike residential real estate — continues to be dominated by men.

The founder of my organization, Goldie B. Wolfe Miller, is a pioneer for women in
the field of commercial real estate, and her story inspires me to continue to forge ahead in creating more leaders like her.

Q: What policy changes and industry innovations in your field do you find most
significant or exciting?
I am inspired by the stories of the current students and their mentors and leaders of The Goldie Initiative, especially the challenges they have had to face in a male-dominated industry.

Q: How did your SPS experience help prepare you for your new position?
The master's degree in Public Service Management has been vital to my career. It is
helpful to have the credential on my resume, but the coursework and networking have been vital to my success. I look forward to extracting more knowledge and experience from my days at DePaul as a I delve deeper into the job responsibilities of an executive director.

Q: What SPS tools have you applied or expect to apply to your new position?
Communication skills have been key, as have the data extraction tools. The SPS degree is very focused on writing for business, which has been invaluable to me throughout my career.

I also studied abroad in Chiapas, Mexico, where I learned about development,
globalization, and indigenous communities; that is an experience I will never forget, and it still influences me in my career and personal life.

Q: What advice would you give to SPS students?
Get a Master's degree — get the credential. It will open doors for you, but it will also
open your mind. The DePaul program is so practical; it will help you in your current job and future career. It will also help you as a person.

The instructors really care about their students' growth and success; the faculty teaches skills that students can practically apply and that will stick with them throughout their careers in public service.

Also, take advantage of all the program has to offer: the study abroad, the cross-listed
classes with the Business school, and the flexibility. During the course of my studies,
there were quarters I had to take off because of busy travel times for work; I even got married in the middle of it all and managed to fit it in without the added stress of coursework. I loved taking stats class in my PJs from home.
DePaul's Master's in Public Service Management truly is the “MBA with a
conscience” (stolen from J.P. Murphy​) — go get it!