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Thanking Deb Mrazek for her Fellowship

Posted by Sagarika Ravishankar

Deb Foto 2012whiteDeb Mrazek has been working with SVP for two years as an Encore Fellow, and we are immensely grateful for her work. She has been deeply involved in integrating design and systems-thinking approaches into SVP.  Deb has been invaluable in helping to map out the complexity of the Ready For Kindergarten “ecosystem,” and the build-out of SVP’s emerging strategic initiative focused on significantly increasing access to quality Pre-K.  

Deb spent more than 30 years as a consultant to executives and middle managers.  She has experience with public and private companies, nonprofits and startups. She is an international expert on Design Value. Over her career, she has created significant value by working at the intersection of what matters to stakeholders, creating growth opportunities and leveraging the organization’s capabilities.

This fellowship is a perfect example of the magic that can happen when you combine a seasoned professional with a strong leader in a non-profit organization. The whole becomes even more than the sum of the parts.

Because Deb was so valuable, we took the time to ask Deb about her fellowship, and wanted to share her personal highlights.

Q: What has working with SVP done for you?

“Working with SVP has increased my awareness and empathy, especially surrounding the equity and diversity issues. I learned a lot about Portland, the people and the history.”

Q: What was a highlight?

“I truly liked working with not just the SVP staff and partners, but with the community partnersthe nonprofits and community leaders that make SVP’s investments so strong. The quality of the people I worked with was very high. I also really appreciated the strategy team’s metamorphosis from being exclusively SVP staff and partners to a blend of staff, partners and community members. It was a great example of how situations can be changed to be more inclusive, and it was really cool to watch happen.”

Q: What was an “aha” moment?

“I was surprised to learn that only 73% of people in Multnomah County graduated from high school on time, or that access to high quality affordable preschool isn’t a possibility for so many people. The magnitude of the problem was surprising to me, and working with SVP really helped me put the issue into context.”

Deb has been invaluable to us, and we’d like to thank her for her amazing work.

If you know of a nonprofit that can use a Fellow willing to make a 1000-hour commitment to a project and that has the capacity to guide the Fellow through the transition from a highly competitive, resource rich, cutting edge product environment into the collaborative, resource scarce, service environment of the social purpose sector, direct them to the SVP Portland Encore Fellows page to apply. Or, have them call Steve Maser at 503-575-8256 for further information.

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