Serving over 20,000 Brooklynites each year: Janelle Farris (’13)

The change management consultants Janelle Farris hired, while working at the Pratt Center for Community Development, were first to suggest she explore the field of organizational development (OD). She was hooked once she discovered that she had been doing OD work without realizing it. That was when she decided to study full-time and to look for a program that made the connection between theory and real-world practice. The path led straight to The New School and Milano Management’s Post Master’s Certificate in Organization Development.

By the time she entered Milano, Farris had already earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Spelman College and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University. Farris looks back at her time at Milano as “a series of ‘aha’ moments.” She recalled the work her student consultant team did with KAVI (Kings Against Violence), a small all-volunteer organization: “Our consultant team helped them to see a bigger vision, to recognize that they needed to fundraise differently, and provided them with a road map for growth.” Today, KAVI is a multi-million dollar enterprise.

After leaving Milano, Farris combined her years of nonprofit management experience with her Milano Management OD tool kit.  For over five years, Farris served as Chief Operating Officer at Brooklyn Community Services (BCS).  When BCS was searching for a new leader, she decided to throw her hat in the ring and got the job as the President and Executive Director of the 150-year-old human services organization serving over 20,000 Brooklynites each year. She says of her Milano experience, “I am clear that the things that I learned enabled me to make a real difference, one that led to our organization winning the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee Gold Medal for Nonprofit Excellence.”

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