Laura McGinley

Executive Master of Public Administration-Public Service Leaders

Laura McGinley

Can you tell us a bit about your job responsibilities?

I am a member of the Executive Team overseeing our Development, Marketing, and Communications work. I work closely with our CEO and our Board to expand our organization's philanthropic capacity and manage three awesome teams driving foundation, corporate, government, and individual giving, as well as our external marketing, branding and communications for specific initiatives and the org as a whole.

What led you to your current organization/role?

I started my development career at a neighboring organization, The Educational Alliance, and I came to really love the settlement house model during my time there. I gained experience in many of the areas of work that are part of this role throughout my time at Educational Alliance, NYU, and Uncommon Schools, so when this opportunity came up I was really excited to return to my development roots doing work that feels immediate, impactful, and urgent, especially right now.

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 worked at NYU, ultimately leading the University's annual giving program. I felt like I wanted to grow in my leadership and was considering the traditional Wagner MPA program but wasn't sure it was the right fit. When I learned about the EMPA, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for - a solid grounding in public administration with an emphasis on the skills, mindsets, and experiences I would need for executive leadership.

My EMPA experience was so powerful! Getting to know the members of my cohort really opened my eyes to different ways I could make an impact in the future and helped give me confidence that I could do something big and bold. And virtually every one of my classes added to my knowledge and understanding about the sector, from policy deep dives to financial management to community organizing and leadership. I also loved the coaching element, which helped me think differently about how to identify what I wanted and to ask for it - I can partially credit that coaching with being able to sustain a work life balance throughout my daughter's childhood.

What advice would you give to someone considering or about to enter the EMPA Program?

I would recommend being very intentional about building the complete package of your experience - for some that will mean trying a little bit of everything, for others it will be very focused. But it goes fast, and each class is precious in helping to create that complete package, so really go for what you want. I would also suggest leaning into the leadership component of the EMPA - that's what distinguishes the program, makes it special, and can really become infused into how you work and how you continue to grow professionally.