Lauren Novak, a recent Stevenson University graduate, is currently the Nonprofit Services Coordinator at Business Volunteers Maryland (BVM). BVM is a nonprofit that connects businesses and people to various organizations around Baltimore.
Lauren was born and raised in New Jersey,and attended Stevenson University where she graduated with a B.S. degree in Business Communications. She chose Stevenson University because she was looking for something new and exciting, contrasting her small-town home in New Jersey. When she toured the college, she fell in love with the campus where she said it felt like home. On campus she was involved in several clubs and organizations including student government and an alternative spring break program called Mission: I’m Home, plus a few honor societies. Lauren also worked as the event coordinator for the Student Engagement Department for four years where she met her first mentor..
While at Stevenson, Lauren began to feel connected to the Baltimore region. She felt she had a strong support system in the area because of the many internships and connections she had made as an undergrad. Lauren felt that because of this, it made for an easy transition to stay. ven though she had no family in the area, she felt like “there were people here who had [her] back.”
One of Lauren’s main responsibilities at BVM is to plan volunteer events for corporate partners. As with all event planners working through the COVID-19 pandemic, Lauren has had to pivot to offer her events virtually.. Though the transition to the virtual space was difficult, Lauren says she feels as if her patience and flexibility were tested and she’s come out stronger. Her team has been successful in creating virtual volunteer projects for hundreds of people which she attributes to her wonderful business partners.
Outside of work, Lauren loves taking walks around her neighborhood listening to podcasts; her favorites include Code Switch, Brené Brown, and Michelle Obama. After dinner she loves watching Netflix and having virtual meet ups with her college friends.
One major change since college has been adjusting to living alone. When at school she was always around her friends and roommates, so it was, at first, lonely to run errands or do activities without a buddy. Since graduation in 2019, Lauren has made an effort to get comfortable with solo social activities like the BMA or farmers market. While she does not know exactly how long she will be staying in the area (5 years? 10 years? Longer?) she has made herself a Baltimore bucket list of several activities to do or places to see around the region.
Lauren left us with three pieces of great advice. As her mentor once told her, “be like the long piece of Tetris, so when people walk into a room people are like, ‘oh yeah, it's about to get good’.” This was in regard to the game Tetris where the long pieces knock out the most blocks. Second, she said to try to take time off and find the balance between work and life, especially since our homes now have more functions (home, office, gym, etc.) during the pandemic. And third, Lauren recommends finding a mentor or two - or three. Whether formal or informal this is a way to make connections, and Lauren says she owes her accomplishments to her mentors. .Lauren encourages you to think about what you can bring to the table for your mentor, too; it’s not just a one-way street.
Connect with Lauren on Linkedin here and email her here.
Transcribed and written by:
Ava Kemp, Student Ambassador
Goucher College 22'