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Alumni Spotlight: Chandler Koglmeier

Chandler Koglmeier '05 • Project Manager, Craftsy

 

 

"One piece of advice I would give to a corps member starting service is don't quit. Your year will be a challenge. if it isn't challenging you, you aren't pushing hard enough."

 

I was accepted to college early decision, which meant I knew in December of my senior year where I was going to school.  The early acceptance gave me the opportunity to step back and think about what I wanted to do next.  After exploring a variety of options, a family friend suggested we look into City Year; and it ended up being a great place to learn about service, community and growth before I went to college.  

I served with City Year for a variety of reasons, many of which took years for me to fully comprehend.  The largest reason was my deep interest in the development of City Year as a public and private partnership, forming the backbone of a major public program by using both private and local funds to accomplish much of the day to day in cities.  I continue to believe this sort of construct is a great way to works towards goals that are quasi-public goods like education where community and social value for the whole is derived from improvement at the micro level but deployment of resources is challenging.

I worked on a Young Heroes team, a former initiative of City Year, running a middle-school service learning program.  I worked with a team member recruiting 150 middle school students to give up their Saturdays to help people, which then transitioned to helping with program fundraising and communications.  Although both had interesting and different challenges I gained many skills that I could use in other programs I got involved with post City Year.

City Year taught me how to work in diverse teams and settings in a way that I had never experienced. I learned how to organize people and motivate teenagers, but most importantly I learned to believe in myself, what we were doing, and to just get things done.  

City Year has the potential to provide value for many people in very different ways.  Both of my siblings are a part of the City Year community.  My brother is currently a corps member with City Year L.A. and my sister, Chelsea, is a City Year Philadelphia ’09 alumna. Their reasons for serving with City Year, and more importantly, the things they have taken away from their City Year experience are completely different from my own.  

One piece of advice I would give to a corps member starting service is don’t quit.  Your year will be a challenge.  If it isn’t challenging you, you aren’t pushing hard enough.  You will be tempted to quit and run away.  Don’t do it; you’ll appreciate it later.  

After my year of service I attended Middlebury College in Vermont. I graduated from college in 2009 with a degree in Political Science (with a lot of Economics and Geography along the way).  I knew I wanted to work in the digital world, but wasn’t really sure what that was supposed to mean. I ended up working for a digital consulting company, joining a congressional campaign that was working without standard TV ad dollars, and working as the "digital guy” in a small payroll start-up in Asia before I got into my current work helping build software for consumer web companies.

I’m currently working in software development for an online education company called Craftsy.  Craftsy is the leading destination for online enthusiasts; we have over 300 classes in areas like Quilting, Photography, Sewing and more.  

I’m the Product Manager for our mobile, tablet and emerging devices team.  In short, that means I spend my day playing with fun new devices and figuring out what we can do with them.  In long form that means I work with a team of engineers and designers to build the strategy for and then actually build a set of apps and websites to deliver our video quality to millions of users around the world.  

In the end, service, be it through CY or other venues, is something we all should do.  It gives one exposure to community, builds understanding of diversity, and most importantly, teaches people to lead through serving others.

 


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