Barbara Ricci

Executive Master of Public Administration-Public Service Leaders

Ricci Advisors LLC
Barbara Ricci

What were you doing before you came to NYU Wagner? What brought you to the EMPA Program, and how did your time at NYU Wagner help you further your career in public service? 

I retired from a 30-year career in global financial services with a desire to pivot into public service. My goal in attending NYU Wagner was to acquire knowledge, develop a network and earn professional credentialing as I prepared for my second career.

At NYU Wagner, I elected as many Health Policy and Management classes that I could. The NYU Wagner Health Policy and Management program consistently ranks #1 or #2 in the nation and I felt extremely fortunate to learn from the elite faculty. Additionally, my peers brought in such a depth and breadth of experience–I learned a lot from them.

What about your work is most fulfilling to you?

Both at Mindful Philanthropy, a non-profit organization I launched after I graduated from NYU Wagner, and now at my current firm, it’s fantastic to advise such smart, innovative and altruistic individuals and organizations who are interested in the intersection of mental health and addiction and the work they already do. As we emerge from this pandemic, it has become clear that we must attend to our nation's mental health.

What challenges have you faced in your work and how have you addressed them? What are you most proud of professionally?

Breaking down the stigma barrier associated with mental health continues to be challenging. Education, patience and understanding are required. I'm most proud of bringing in new and interested funders to the field of mental health. Their philanthropic contributions are driving real change and improving outcomes for individuals, families and society.

Have you engaged with the NYU and Wagner networks, and in what ways? Have they been helpful to you?

I returned to NYU Wagner this winter to earn an Advanced Certificate in Social Finance. I'd like to further meld my two careers in financial services and nonprofit management. Professor Scott Taitel runs an incredibly rich program that offers real world applicability for nonprofits and investors who want to focus on both financial and social returns.

What public service impact do you hope to make through your organization and/or career?

My north star has been to establish a comprehensive approach to mental health for children and youth with a focus on the school system. Doing so requires promoting proven and promising direct services, system capacity building, policy and advocacy initiatives and research and innovation.