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Natasha Thompson 730

Natasha Thompson

Executive MBA, Class of 2009

President and CEO
Foodbank of the Southern Tier
Food Bank 200
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Halfway through her time at Simon, Natasha Thompson's career took an unexpected turn: She was hired as President and CEO of Food Bank of the Southern Tier.

"It was a complete surprise," says Natasha. "That wasn’t my intention. But Simon definitely gave me the confidence to apply for and accept the job."

Natasha's primary goal has always been serving people. For the previous 10 years, she had worked for food banks that helped feed low-income families. Having risen to a supervisory role, she felt a need to further her education.

Initially, she considered a Masters of Public Administration. But on the advice of a trusted mentor, she looked into Simon's Executive MBA program and enrolled.

The combination of rigorous academics and a supportive atmosphere was exactly what Natasha had hoped for. "It was definitely the hardest thing I had done in recent memory," she says. "But everyone was interested in ensuring that I succeeded. The professors were very approachable."

Natasha found herself applying what she had learned days after learning it. "Everything was instantly applicable to the work we were doing at the Food Bank," says Natasha. "It wasn’t just a theoretical exercise."

Her Simon MBA also brought out a side of her that she didn't know existed, enabling her to create an overhead cost allocation model for non-profits that is now used by food banks across the country.

But the real benefit to Natasha is the way Simon has enabled her to help those who need it most: In the challenging economy of 2008, Natasha’s organization was able to seamlessly increase food distribution to low income families by 30%—while still maintaining a surplus.

Natasha Thompson Thompson

"It was definitely the hardest thing I had done in recent memory," she says. "But everyone was interested in ensuring that I succeeded. The professors were very approachable."

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