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OCU Nonprofit Leadership alumna Roxanne Mayer

In this continuing blog series, we're profiling Oklahoma City University alumni who earned a master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership. Today: Roxanne Mayer, who is using her degree to serve children's advocacy centers.

A little bit about Roxanne

I grew up in Arkansas and moved to Oklahoma at the end of 2013 to pursue an associate degree in crime victim/survivor services at OSU-OKC. It had always been my dream to work with survivors of human trafficking, which I did for two years while I completed my degree. I worked in the shelter with the survivors, assisted with fundraisers, and, the last year I volunteered, I was the volunteer coordinator and maintained the database for the

Roxanne Mayer

organization. Once I graduated, I moved on to working as an executive director of a small child advocacy center in Canadian County until I was ready to continue my education. I went back to school in 2018 to pursue liberal studies in philosophy and then completed my master's in nonprofit leadership. While attending school, I worked as an employment specialist at a local community mental health organization. After graduating with my master’s, I moved on to work for Palomar Family Justice Center where I served all victims of crime and worked with over 38 partners onsite to better assist survivors in their healing process. I am now back in the child advocacy arena where I can take the lessons I learned in school and apply them to the job at hand.

Can you tell us about what you’re doing now?

I'm the director of strategic initiatives for Children's Advocacy Centers of Oklahoma (CACO). CACO serves all children's advocacy centers and freestanding multidisciplinary teams of Oklahoma by delivering support, training and technical assistance in efforts to provide collaborative and coordinated responses to victims of child abuse and neglect.

How did your master’s in Nonprofit Leadership help you get where you are today?

The tools I gained in the program provided me with the foundation and understanding of best practices to make this role successful. I think it takes courage to venture out and continue your education, especially when you complete it in the middle of a pandemic. While there were many times I wanted to give in because of all we were going through in 2020, Dr. (Randy) Macon provided constant support and kindness to help me get through those rough times. I will say my determination and self-reliance grew during my time at OCU and has continued long past graduation.

Roxanne Mayer

What values learned in the NPL program do you carry with you in your career now?

I have a unique role that encompasses so much of what I learned during my time in the program. The classes that have provided me with the best platform to do the best at my job were: Nonprofit Financial Oversight, Grant Writing, Law & Nonprofit Organizations, Advocacy for Social Change, Strategic Planning & Program Development, Marketing for Nonprofits, Program Evaluation, and Research Data in Nonprofits.

What led you to choose to pursue a degree in Nonprofit Leadership?

During my time as an executive director of a child advocacy center, I came across many challenges that led me to learn more about nonprofit management. This ultimately led me to look into a degree program that would give me a better foundation for this line of work where I could better advocate for those in need and be a better steward in managing the day-to-day operations.

Why did you choose OCU?

There are not a lot of colleges/universities that offer an actual degree in nonprofit management or leadership. I kept finding certificate programs but not an actual degree. I came across this program in my search and looked more into what it entailed. It was what I was looking for, and, having already decided to pursue my bachelor’s at OCU, I felt it was a great fit because I wouldn’t have to switch schools again.

What advice would you give to students considering pursuing a master’s in Nonprofit Leadership?

I’d say to consider the career path you want to pursue and ensure this would help you be better prepared for that career path. If this is the best degree, you have options to complete in one year or two years, which can also be a huge benefit when you are managing working and going to school at the same time. The professors in this program live what they teach, and you will not find better instructors on being able to apply what you learn to the job at hand.

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