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Walden Magazine // Jan 16, 2019

How It Paid Off: From Training Manager to Associate Director

MBA alumna uses technology, networking skills to climb the ladder

Brandy McNeil
Brandy McNeil ’11. Photo by Michael Paras Photography.

NAME: Brandy McNeil ’11

DEGREE: Master of Business Administration (MBA)

CURRENT PROGRAM: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

JOB TITLE BEFORE MY DEGREE: Learning and Development Training Manager, New York Public Library

JOB TITLE AFTER MY DEGREE: Associate Director of Technology Education and Training, New York Public Library

PUTTING SKILLS TO WORK: I pursued my MBA to make a difference in the community, so I was excited to start working at the New York Public Library (NYPL) soon after receiving my degree. My coursework taught me the value of business networking and building relationships, so I made sure to practice those concepts in my role. NYPL was in the process of upgrading to Google platforms, so I used my knowledge and skills to help ease the transition. I believe that’s what initially got upper management to think about me for a promotion. They sought me out. I didn’t apply for the job, and it wasn’t on my radar at the time. But I was so flattered that multiple people had been discussing this opportunity on my behalf. I think they noticed my big-picture thinking and my ambition, and that’s what sealed the deal.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: In my new position, I oversee technology education for the library’s 89 locations throughout Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx. My duties include creating innovative technology programs, designing computer labs, and ensuring access and equity of digital literacy throughout New York’s libraries. I create partnerships with organizations such as Google, Codecademy, and MIT on community outreach projects to educate citizens and meet their technological needs. In 2014, my team and I launched Project Code, a free introductory coding program, which boasted a waitlist of 6,000 participants. Overall, NYPL’s attendance has increased by 200 percent since I took ownership of technology education and training in 2012. We’ve helped people get jobs and reconnect with family by providing digital literacy education that is free to all. The work I do is impacting the lives of New Yorkers every day.

PURSUING A DREAM: I remember visiting my older sister when I was young while she was working in her office at the World Trade Center, and I thought: “I want to be like her. What can I do to get there?” As I got older, I knew a bachelor’s degree alone wouldn’t get me where I wanted to be. My MBA has truly helped me achieve my dreams. Now, I’m pursuing my DBA with Walden, which I think will have an even bigger impact on my career. I’ve gotten to this point, and now I can’t wait to get to the next level.
— As told to Kyra Molinaro