This client wanted to transition to an organization with social impact – the Gates Foundation seemed like a great fit. She also wanted to put her background in corporate finance and operations analysis to work as an Associate in the Strategy, Innovation and Impact within the Finance division.
The Strategy, Innovation, and Impact group is the primary function supporting the creation and evaluation of our strategies, as well as exploring new paths to impact that align with our mission. This includes supporting the CEO, CFO and Chief Strategy Officer in key accountabilities that include responsibility for governance of the organization, overseeing strategy development, strategy performance measurement, portfolio management, exploring special initiatives and in managing relationships both internally and externally. The Measurement & Evaluation team is one of two key pillars of the Strategy, Innovation, and Impact group; Strategy being the other.
In the client’s original cover letter, she tried to convey her passion for the Gates Foundation’s mission and work but she struggles to concretely relate that mission to her personal feelings and experiences. It can be surprisingly difficult to break into the nonprofit world and so in this case it seemed worthwhile to dedicate the first half of the cover letter to elaborating on the client’s awareness of global issues and the principles at the heart of the Gates Foundation. The second half of the cover letter is more traditional in that it gives the reader a summary of the breadth of the client’s professional experience and then highlights some achievements that are directly related to to the requirements for this role.
March 8th, 2017
Dear Gates Foundation Strategic Data Team,
I believe that feeling we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves is fundamental. In my case, promoting the mission of the Gates Foundation as a Business Intelligence Manager, would be an incredibly fulfilling personal and professional commitment.
Growing up in the Midwest, I’d always found myself drawn to new places, people and ideas. Four years ago, I decided to spend some time working abroad. I learned basic Mandarin and moved to Asia. From my home base in Shanghai I had the opportunity to travel throughout rural China, India and Indonesia.
Through first-hand encounters, my appreciation of the inequality that exists in the world evolved from an abstract story in the New York Times to a concrete reality. A holistic approach – economic, social and cultural – to improving the living standards of the poor is clearly needed. What makes the Gates Foundation stand out from other NGOs in my mind is its focus on making long-term program commitments to drive systemic change.
In my professional life, I’ve worked in corporate finance at Dell, led operations and financial audit initiatives at SimplyYum in China and now, at Koupon Media, I help clients like Pepsi and Walgreens optimize promotions and understand why people are ‘predictably irrational’. At first glance those roles might seem unrelated but they’re not.
What’s kept me engaged has been my love of taking on big data sets and seeing the human behavior or business process that underlie them. I’ve also enjoyed teaching what I’ve learned to others – sometimes guiding colleagues and other times helping clients uncover practical solutions to what seem like abstract problems.
Clean drinking water, sanitation and rising tobacco use are complex problems that require multi-faceted solutions. I would love to play a part in shedding light on these issues through sensitivity analysis, data modeling and visualization.
At SimplyYum, I conducted many such analysis. In one instance I developed a dynamic sales dashboard for the factory store. Building the dashboard involved exporting unformatted point of sale data from the cash register (100,000 monthly data points). I then used Excel, VBA and SQL to automate the dashboard.
I’d be delighted to learn more about the Strategic Data Team’s current projects and needs and discuss how I could contribute to your efforts.