Listen to the interview (approx. 1 hr 15 min.) or download it.
Left Berklee in 2013 (She finished up one last class and officially graduated in 2014.) with a degree in Professional Music. Principal Instrument: Voice.
Position: Grants Manager at Action for Boston Community Development (“ABCD”) a large human-services non-profit organization. Alexia applies for outside grants to fund 76 distinct programs designed to alleviate poverty in the Boston area. She also supervises and edits the work of two other grant writers, and oversees ABCD’s direct-mail fundraising operation.
Overview: Alexia started Berklee in 2000, but left after two years. Having grown up low-income and strongly believing in social justice, Alexia wanted to do community organizing professionally. For years, she worked at various administrative jobs in the non-profit section, while going to Berklee on and off. Though she kept wanting to do what she was doing, Alexia realized that she needed a Bachelors Degree in order to advance her career, and that the easiest way to get that was to finish at Berklee.
By 2012 Alexia was both doing the books and fund raising for Community Change, a small anti-racism organization, where she could work part time while finishing her degree. While finishing up, she started an 18-month job search for appropriate jobs in the non-profit sector in Boston looking for a larger organization where there was more hope for advancement. She got the job offer at ABCD in the spring of 2014 while still one class shy of her degree. Although the positions required a Bachelors Degree, ABCD gave her the leeway to finish up that semester while she worked.
You can see Alexia’s LinkedIn profile here.
Choice quotes: “A funding relationship is like getting to know someone. Don’t propose on the first night you meet. Talk to them, find out what each of you wants out of life, then maybe someday it matches up to a commitment. Getting a grant is as much about the relationship building and the credibility of the organization and you as a professional as it is about the words on the paper.”
“Many people hate fundraising, even some who do it professionally, but I like it! If you enjoy raising money, there are lots of opportunities.”
Berklee taught me that creatives move in the world a bit differently than others who don’t have that in them. We examine problems differently and enter into conversations differently. Berklee helped my creative side flourish. That changed who I am for the better.”
Alexia as a Berklee student, putting her voice to use. She reflects on what she’s doing now,
“It’s not music, but I get to be creative, think strategically, and solve problems. I enjoy writing and am gifted at it–which you need to be in my line of work–I get to offer something meaningful. The programs I raise money for do truly transformative work, and I’m happy to be part of that.”
Alexia with her son. “The dream you have as a 22 or 23-year-old may change. Stay true to your real calling. Play your role in the world.”
Alexia also tells Berklee students to “Experience the city outside of Berklee. Get to know people–talk to folks who know the history of the local music scene. It’s hard to get involved in the greater community, but put yourself forward and give back a bit to the city and the city will give back to you.”