Desiree Del-Zio

M.A. in Nonprofit Leadership and Management

What do you hope to do with your degree?

My intention is to apply the knowledge and education that the Nonprofit Leadership and Management (NPLM) program affords me to propel my career further into the social services leadership arena of the nonprofit industry. As a Quality Assurance Manager for MAAC, a very large and exceptionally successful local Nonprofit, I am charged with the honor of ensuring alignment between program practices and regulatory requirements. My professional development coupled with the learning opportunity that USD is providing empowers me with a commanding skill set that offers a unique lens in which to support the healthy growth and development of any Nonprofit organization.

How did you hear about SOLES, and why did you choose to enroll? 

Among many other blessings in my life I have had the incredible fortune of working for an organization that strongly supports the NPLM program within USD SOLES. My direct supervisor, colleagues and my CEO are all alumni of the program and enthusiastically support this amazing program.  

Tell us about any research you have done at SOLES.  

I am currently putting together a team to conduct a performance audit of the governance systems within a local Nonprofit, serving as consultants to the effective changes and growth within the organization. I anticipate completion of the project at the end of the Fall 2013 semester.

Have you completed an international experience?

I have not completed an international experience but intend to study Nonprofits in Civil Societies in Guatemala.

How has your SOLES education impacted your career? 

My education with SOLES has offered me the opportunity to work directly with the governance systems of my own nonprofit as well as the future opportunity to work with others within the community. Moreover, I am gaining a healthy understanding of the humble beginnings of the industry, its development, its current status in the world and the future of the work we do. This is providing me with a strong knowledge base and the holistic professional development that enhances my visibility within the local nonprofit sector. My goals of working in the roles of leadership and assisting in quality service delivery coupled with creative problem solving are being realized as a result of my work with this SOLES program.

Which class has impacted you the most?

It is difficult to say which class is impacting me the most as each is so unique in its content and exposure to the ideologies that support the growth and leadership within the industry. I am inspired and impassioned by all of my professors, the material and the experiences.  

Are there specific SOLES faculty, staff or administrators you feel have contributed significantly to your success?

The professors, faculty members and staff at SOLES are all so well selected and incredibly dedicated to their work and, what’s more, they are all equally passionate about the success of the students enrolled in the program. You can feel that sense of dedication from every person you meet and it is difficult to select specific staff. Pat Libby, Mary McDonald, Terri Monroe, Jane Ross, Jenny Yebba, Anne Mumford, and Mark Peters are among those that have and continue to inspire me to bring all of myself to my work at USD every day! 

What is your dream job? 

My dream is to found a social services nonprofit organization that serves the impoverished through programs dedicated to skill building, educational development, healthy lifestyle choices and personal growth. My daughters are 14 and 11 and they both speak of working with people in the community that are in need and being pillars of change. Whatever I do in this life it will be to serve, to make those two beautiful girls in my life proud and to leave behind of legacy of dedication to the community that will endure well beyond my days of service.

Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective students? 

If you are remotely considering pursuing a degree from SOLES at USD all I can say is DO IT! This program is changing my life every day. The information I am exposed to, the people that have enhanced my network, the passion that is electrified on the campus and the great work that we are all participating in is life altering and expanding. I work full time, I am a single mother and am taking a full course load and I cannot stress enough how incredibly doable it is to have it all! Not only will you be afforded the opportunity to study at one of the most prestigious collegiate environments in the world, you will also be working with and for some of the most powerful change agents in the country.