Where can you go with a liberal arts degree? What options are out there for Lawrence graduates? The Career Corner tells the stories of some almni who have found answers to these questions and proves that, yes, there is a job out there for you.Margi Briggs-Lofton, class of ’76, has led a life that is anything but typical. She majored in Russian and French at Lawrence then promptly went to New York to work as a translator. As boredom crept in, she began to look toward her other passions, one of which was ballet. For ten years, she worked for American Ballet Theatre in marketing and development.
“I really began to work for making ballet more accessible for those who enjoy it,” Briggs-Lofton said.
American Ballet Theatre also served to set Briggs-Lofton on the non-profit career path. She has held various positions, usually as a Marketing and Public Relations Director.
The other non-profit organizations she has worked for include the National Resource Defense Council, Dance Theatre Harlem, and New 42nd Street, which was responsible for beginning the recent revitalization of historic 42nd Street theaters.
Currently, Briggs-Lofton is the co-owner of SimpatiCo. Partners, which she describes as “a business that specializes in fundraising and event planning.” Founded three and a half years ago, SimpatiCo. Partners and the consulting work it entails “grew out of 20 years of hands-on experience,” according to Briggs-Lofton.
Despite such experience in the field, Briggs-Lofton has also encountered several challenges.
“We’re facing the challenges of … just establishing the business. We’re the ones responsible for our income. We have to be strong advocates for ourselves [rather than for a company],” Briggs-Lofton said.
She added that “[Post-9/11 has] been a tough time for small businesses and non-profit [organizations],” possibly having an impact on SimpatiCo., which has mostly non-profit organizations as clientele.
For those considering work with non-profit organizations, Briggs-Lofton has some advice.
“You want to make sure that there’s a management structure that supports you, [people go into non-profit work thinking] sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice … Just make sure you’re looking at the overall package, not just the mission of the organization.”
She adds, “The structures aren’t quite so rigid as they are in corporations, so if you get in at the right place at the right time, there’s a lot of room for creativity and structuring your own career path as well.