Cristo Rey Networking

A few weeks back, I received an unexpected LinkedIn invitation from Terry Gupta, Business Development Consultant at North Cambridge Catholic High School’s Work Study Program. She contacted me because we both belong to the JVC LinkedIn group and she noticed that I worked at Brodeur Partners, one of NCCHS’s sponsors, last summer. NCCHS, like Cristo Rey High School in Baltimore, is a part of the Cristo Rey Network of high schools.

Today, I went into North Cambridge to meet with Terry and discuss their corporate sponsorship (Here’s a list of current sponsors) and work study program. When I arrived, Terry was in a meeting, so the current Jesuit Volunteer at NCCHS, Jen Krasowski, gave me a quick tour of the school and introduced me to some students and staff members. Afterward, we sat and talked about her JVC experience. She told me about how her JV house had organized food and money, what they had done for community nights, and some of the “perks” to being a JV.

Later, Terry introduced me to Jeff Thielman (Bio), President of NCCHS and former Vice President of the Cristo Rey Network, where he oversaw the expansion of the network from 1 to 24 schools. As far as the education and nonprofit sector (and life) go, Jeff is a rockstar among rockstars. I had read about him, his volunteering, and his work in More Than a Dream. After graduating from Boston College, he spent three and a half years volunteering in Peru, and, after dabbling (successfully, I might add) in the corporate world, became involved in Cristo Rey Chicago’s fund raising and the network’s expansion efforts. Meeting him only confirmed what I had already thought: he’s a genuine and incredibly smart man and it was an honor meeting him.

Next, I spoke with Terry about the Corporate Work Study Program. We talked about Twitter, blogs, and social media and how each could help spread the good word about the program and potentially attract more companies to it. I tried to stress that social media is a good tool, but a tool that takes time and commitment. We also discussed networking events, referrals, retreats, and their website. It was a good discussion and I learned a lot more about how the Cristo Rey schools work as a business. NCCHS’s Work Study Program is in great hands with Terry.

All in all, visiting NCCHS, meeting some of the employees and students there, and speaking with selfless people like Jen, Terry, and Jeff further showed me how absolutely fantastic the Cristo Rey Network is and added to my excitement to get started in Baltimore.

Without LinkedIn and social networking, we wouldn’t have connected. Pretty darn cool, if you ask me. Have you made any connections via LinkedIn or social networking lately?

Countdown to JVC Orientation: 15 days. Two more weeks, folks!


3 Responses to Cristo Rey Networking

  1. Sarah says:

    So what did Jen do for community nights? What are the perks? How did they handle all that in house stuff?

    • Tom O'Keefe says:


      For community nights they did different social things as a group like going out for ice cream, renting a movie, or just playing board games. The community nights are a somewhat formal way for housemates to hang out together and cultivate the community aspect.

      The “perks” were JV get-togethers in different cities, donations from former JV’s, and being a part of a large network of great people.

      For their house, they broke up different tasks like chores, food shopping, and cooking at the beginning of each month.

      Thanks for the comment, Sarah!


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