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Haverford College

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Nicholas Mirra '06

What is your current job?

I am the Communications Coordinator at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

Why did you choose this profession?

I was interested in nonprofit work, and my first job in that sector was fundraising for a historical society. I discovered that fundraising required me to be deeply committed to the cause, and while I valued the historical society's mission, it wasn't personal for me. Taking this job with the Bicycle Coalition felt like a lateral move into a related activity (communications) but for a cause I cared more about. It was the right decision.

What more do you wish to accomplish in your professional career?

I feel my career is still in its infancy. I want to work towards a role that will have a large impact on an audience, or a community, or a user base. I want to work with a team of people and exercise a degree of creativity in my work. I wish to create things that I can point to and say, "I created that." The specifics, be it bicycling or another nonprofit or the corporate sector, are yet to be determined.

Tell us about a decision or change you made that turned out to be a positive career move.

As mentioned above, I left a comfortable but unchallenging job in fundraising to take a communications position that was newly-created at a small bicycle advocacy nonprofit. Taking a job with more headroom - with more room to grow, expand one's job duties, and engage with a broader spectrum of an organization's total functions - is a shortcut to learning what kinds of roles you enjoy assuming and what skills you want to hone.

How has Haverford influenced your professional career?

Haverford's influence is too intertwined with my development as an adult to identify all the threads of its influence. But a couple easy ones: my history degree taught me the importance of context as a necessary ingredient in true understanding of a topic. It also taught me to not be afraid to admit when I don't know something, and it stoked my desire to fill up those holes in my understanding.

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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