Carolyn Keller, the operations manager of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED), a nonprofit organization housed in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh, was selected for the 2019 Pittsburgh 30 Under 30 list.
The award, offered by the Pittsburgh Business Times and Leadership Pittsburgh Inc., recognizes residents who “exemplify the creativity, passion and perseverance that have come to characterize western Pennsylvania's new economy.” There were 30 recipients selected from a pool of over 170 nominations.
After earning her masters from University College London, Keller returned to her hometown in 2014 to do what she does best: give back. At CPED, she manages the nonprofit’s financial wellness and growth through overseeing operations and serving as the point of contact to over 100 colleges and schools of education across the US and Canada. Members of the CPED consortium have committed resources to work together to undertake a critical examination of the doctorate in education (EdD) through dialog, experimentation, critical feedback, and evaluation.
“The synergy between CPED and the School of Education affords us the opportunity to collaboratively engage and cultivate relationships across a broad network,” said Keller.
Within the greater Pittsburgh community, she serves as the Board President for the Pittsburgh Philharmonic. Seeking a creative outlet, Keller got her start through volunteering with the organization. “My violin has travelled with me everywhere, so finding a space that fostered my passion for playing was important to me. As vacancies in the organization opened, I embraced the idea of stepping up to the plate and am proud of the work I have accomplished.”
A true philanthropist at heart, Keller is involved in many projects to improve the well-being of others. She is the founder of Curio412 a small-scale, social sector consulting firm committed to demonstrating impact and empowering mission-driven organizations. Through Curio412 she has worked with organizations such as the Farina Foundation, Hopeful Ways, and McCandless Township. She continues to advise the Farina Foundation, in the nonprofit’s organizational development, grant writing, and annual fundraising endeavors. She is also an active committee member for the Alliance for Response and the McCandless/Northern Allegheny Heritage Center. In previous years, Mrs. Keller has also worked with other organizations including the Pennsylvania Cultural Response Network and the Heinz History Center Affiliates Program.
“Local organizations are at the heart of every community and have widespread impact on the Pittsburgh region. I enjoy playing a small part in empowering organizations to fulfil their missions and it is humbling to be recognized for work that often goes unseen,” said Keller.
Tools of the Trade – Tips on Working for a Nonprofit
Navigating the non-profit sector may seem daunting to some. Whether one is seeking to enter the field, move up in it, further an understanding of what a nonprofit is capable of doing, Keller has some advice.
- Network, network, network - Attend the events of the nonprofits for which you’re interested in working. Many of the organization’s leaders will be in attendance. Bring a business card and connect.
- Develop your writing skills - Nonprofits seek out their own funding, most of which comes through grants. Effective strategic communication skills can help you capture the spark that makes the nonprofit organization unique in our writing.
- Volunteer at a non-profit - From ticket takers to tour guides and general staff, non-profits could always use an extra pair of hands. It is a great way to meet people in the nonprofit world and hear about open positions.
Understand your skillset - Board members for nonprofits come from every walk of life. Lawyers, grant writers and CPA’s sit side-by-side. Even if your skills seem outside the box, learn how they translate to the work.
A reception honoring Keller and the other outstanding recipients of the 30 Under 30 award was held on August 15, 2019 at Ace Hotel. Join the conversation online with the hashtag #PBT30Under30.
To learn more about the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate, visit the organization’s website at https://www.cpedinitiative.org/.