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Career Advice: César Bocanegra, COO

Introducing César, the Chief Operating Officer at DonorsChoose.org. Among his many roles, César is responsible for leading the operations team and ensuring the operations workflow is fully scalable. Cesar earned his MBA from the Wharton School of Business in Strategic Management and served as the national president of HISPA, a non-profit organization focused on developing Hispanic youth. Let’s hear some of his advice!
Q: What does your position at DonorsChoose.org entail?
A: As the COO of DonorsChoose.org, I wear many hats. I can categorize what I do in 4 buckets:
1.) Management of People: My philosophy is that people who “do the work” know what’s best for the organization. My role is to support my team in a multitude of areas and help empower them to accomplish their goals.
2.) Management of Processes: I love to look at the task at hand, understand it from start to finish, create a process flow, and then find ways to optimize and improve it.
3.) Management of Tools/Technologies: I get to learn about innovative tools and systems that are being developed and find ways to integrate these new technologies into our current environment.
4.) Public Relations: I spend some time advertising and representing DonorsChoose.org at various conferences and events around the area.Q: What are the advantages of working for a non-profit organization?
A: The main advantage of working at a non-profit organization is the working environment! Our staff at DonorsChoose.org does not come to work for the paycheck (though it’s nice to be paid). The majority of us are at DonorsChoose.org because of our united cause. We are passionate about our mission and our vision, and when you can get a group of people aligned towards the same goal, you can accomplish unimaginable things.
Q: What is your advice for college grads entering the workforce (and specifically for those who want to work at places like DonorsChoose.org)?
A: Don’t worry about getting a job in a field that you majored in. Instead, you should be looking for a workplace that aligns with your core values and your passion. If you can find a position that you are passionate about, requires skills you’re good at AND it pays competitively, then you have found the perfect job for you! Once you have found that, every month or so, have a conversation with your manager to ensure that you’re doing everything (and more) that your manager expects for you to be successful.Q: Looking back, what is ONE thing you wish you knew when you were starting your career?
A: I wish I knew the advice I just wrote down!
Want to work with César? Check out our open job opportunities!

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