Anna Verdiyan

MPA in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy - 2007

Chief Operating Officer
America Needs You (ANY)
Anna Verdiyan

How did being in New York impact your professional journey? 

New York  did not just impact my professional journey, it defined it entirely. Inspired by my mother’s transfer to New York City to lead global child development efforts in her position at UNICEF, I joined her in relocating from Armenia to pursue a career shift, looking for a graduate-level program that had the magnitude, academically and experientially, to challenge my potential and propel my career in directions I didn’t know existed. New York City’s worldwide leadership when it comes to growth, sustainability, and resiliency, fueled my ambition to set clear and aggressive career goals, while Wagner’s MPA program equipped me with the necessary tools, knowledge, and skills to make a difference in many people’s lives.

How did you find your first post-Wagner job?

Within my two years at Wagner, I held one or two internships at a time, taking on a diversity of roles in a number of prominent organizations across all sectors. I felt safe to explore and take risks, and valued the precious two years that allowed me to do so. From working with the NYC Dept. of Small Business Services to create historic policies supporting minority and women-owned businesses to compete for  9/11 reconstruction contracting opportunities, to revamping the entire marketing approach of thoracic oncology treatment for a major hospital system,  NYU Langone Medical Center, I took a deep dive into new initiatives and every day was inspired by the real world leaders who were my professors. During my last internship at one the nation’s largest workforce development intermediaries, I was offered a full-time position and ended up managing multi-million dollar workforce and asset building programs to strengthen communities across eight states.   

Describe your current job. 

I currently serve as the Chief Operating Officer at America Needs You (ANY) – a national nonprofit organization with a mission to fight for economic mobility for ambitious, first-generation college students by providing transformative mentorship and intensive career development. In my role, I lead strategic growth balancing focus and ambition as well as driving operational excellence and efficiency across the organization. With a focus on talent, programs, and scale, my goal is to strengthen an effective and scalable operational model for ANY, further developing the systems and processes required for deeper impact nationally. As a development economist with most of my work in human services and anti-poverty initiatives, I have seen first-hand  how education can be the most powerful strategy to tackle inter-generational poverty. There is only one thing that proves to be more expensive than education in life. The lack of it. But, when addressed, the results are nothing short of a miracle. I am with ANY to make this miracle come true for all first-generation college students.