Keith Timko '02: Strengthening nonprofit leadership
Keith Timko entered Columbia Business School with four years' experience working with New York City public schools. "When we worked with teachers, we saw that their schools' organizational needs were just as pressing as the needs of individual students and teachers," says Timko. "The schools needed organizational support in so many different ways, such as creating technology plans, establishing and monitoring appropriate budgets and developing leadership succession plans."
Timko knew that his own educational nonprofit and the schools with which he worked shared many of the same needs, and he wanted those organizations to excel. He decided that he would be better able to meet these needs by continuing his education. "I knew the Social Enterprise [then the Public and Nonprofit Management] concentration at Columbia included courses in nonprofit management as well as core courses in leadership, management, accounting and finance. After two years of full-time study, I knew I could return to the nonprofit sector with a better sense of business and concrete ideas for how to run a successful organization."
After graduation, Timko joined the Leader to Leader Institute (formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management), a national organization whose mission is to strengthen the leadership of the social sector. In addition to leading a national team of volunteers to conduct trainings, Timko has also been able to return to his roots as an educator. Working primarily with board and executive staff members of nonprofits and schools, Timko has opportunities to lead workshops in nonprofit leadership and management. "I'm able to connect with small nonprofits, building their capacity and helping them to better educate our youth, feed the hungry and create more affordable housing," he says. "I couldn't think of a better use for my MBA or a better sector in which to work."