Faith James ’13, who graduated in May with a double major in public policy and anthropology/sociology, recently connected with William Smith alumna Claire Lyons ’80 to work on a project within the public-private partnerships (PPP) sector that aimed to gauge the methods of success in public, private and non-profits.
Lyons is a chief catalyst for The Partnerships Advisory in New York City, which is a management consulting firm for public-private partnerships. She also is currently on the Leadership Council with the GlobalGiving Foundation and has published numerous works, which include “Degrees of Equity for the Human Rights Campaign” funded by PepsiCo.
James had an interest in the development aspect of cross-sector engagement, so she reached out to The Salisbury Center for Career Services and Professional Development, which connected her with Lyons, allowing the two to discuss interests and experiences. They came up with the idea to conduct a survey for Lyons’ colleagues working in various organizations, including professionals from Save the Children, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, Unite The World With Africa, and Blue Planet Network to see how they still achieved their professional goals while managing public-private partnerships.
“Faith is both a bright and enthusiastic with a great deal to contribute; her understanding of systems and development dynamics belies her career inexperience,” Lyons says. “I was captivated from the start and knew instantly she’d be a delight to work with because she’s passionate and thoughtful about using partnerships as a key strategy to address the world’s seemingly intractable problems.”
Together, James and Lyons came up with a nine-question survey that was sent to members of the public sector, consulting, philanthropic, and non-profit fields with the respondents giving “invaluable” feedback. The duo put together a summary of the information they received and sent it to the women and men who participated.
“I have gained a greater understanding of the challenges of maintaining cross-sector engagement while attempting to fulfill the mission of their organization and business,” James says. “Many persons expressed the difficulty of such relationships in terms of satisfying goals and project commitments, but also made clear that the benefits of effective partnerships are tremendous for overcoming social issues.”
Working with Lyons has given James the opportunity to better understand her career goals. She aspires to work within the PPP field as a chief catalyst of change in order to abolish childhood poverty through consultation with members of each sector in order to spark the global funding of critical projects. She says her courses in anthropology, sociology, and economics at HWS were influential in helping her figure out potential career paths.
This summer, she is working as an Education and Outreach Fellow at the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, D.C. While at HWS, Faith was a Sociology Teaching Fellow, a Student Ambassador for the Public Leadership Education Network, and worked with Sodexo dining services.
“My mentorship with Claire showed me the power and importance of gleaning personal insights from persons in varying fields to understand the climate of professional arenas,” James says. “It also made clear the benefits of applying insight from our interdisciplinary education to determine potential career paths after HWS.”
In the photo above Faith James ’13 receives the Odell Book Award from Chris Bennett-West ’94, president of the William Smith Alumnae Council in May.