Alumni Spotlight

April Alumni Spotlight with Angela Gustus, MPA '10

April 17 Alumni Spotlight

This month’s alumni spotlight Angela Gustus (MPA '10) has been working in the human services field for more than 20 years. She is currently serving second year as the Executive Director of Human Services Programs of Carroll County and teaches at the University of Baltimore in the College of Public Affairs. She shares with us her career story and talks about her recently published second book that came to life from a poem that she wrote as a 3rd grade student which eventually impacted her life.

What was your motivation to pursue career in in the human services field?

I was raised by a dad who was a successful business man, and a mother who was a social worker. With that said, I fell in love with helping people live the best lives possible, while also enjoying loving the business side of the nonprofit world. I started as a House Manager in a residential program working with people with intellectual challenges. Over the next 15 years I grew into leadership positions and found my purpose in working with individuals and families, no matter their disability, income, or barriers; no matter if it is a program participant, intern, or staff person. Everyone deserves to live a life that they define as an awesome life, and if I can help them in achieving that, then I have done what I was put here to do.   

What impact did Marxe School of Public and International Affairs have on your job prospects upon graduation?

When I started at Baruch as a National Urban Fellow, I wanted to build upon my clinical skills to further develop my business skills within the realm of nonprofit management. Through that process I recognized that what I also needed was to gain experience within the government to better understand how nonprofit and government work together. After graduation, I moved back to my hometown of Baltimore and started a few months later working for the Department of Human Resources (Maryland’s social services agency). I know without a doubt that my skills in program evaluation, research, and using data to best understand the needs of a community is what opened the doors for me to work in government.

How do the knowledge and skills gained during your time at Marxe School enable you to face challenges in your current role as the Executive Director of Human Services Programs of Carroll County?

After five years in government service, I decided to return to the nonprofit sector, armed with a knowledge of government that prepared me to be a stronger leader. I was honored to step in as the 4th ED in the agencies 29 years. HSP has an amazing foundation, and I am able to work with a team fired up about making the next 30 years even better. HSP has 17 different programs that have operated in silos. In my first year as the Executive Director of HSP, I have worked with my team to tackle developing a $4.2 million agency-wide operating budget, using data to shed light on program effectiveness, and creating processes to bring all of the programs together to better wrap around individuals and families. My ability to lead my team through many of these challenges have come from my years in the field; however, the skills to actually accomplish many of those goals were developed through my classroom experiences at Baruch. The professors I had were practitioners who brought real life experiences to the classroom that made the topics very applicable. In addition to my position as ED of HSP, I am also a professor at the University of Baltimore in the College of Public Affairs. It is my hope that I have the same ability to impact my students the way that my professors at Baruch have impacted me.

Congratulations on your second book“Chip: Use Everything You Have To Do Everything You Do”! Please tell us more about your books and workshops that you developed.

My first book, “Leadership Development for Human Services Professionals” is a compilation of trainings that I had developed over the past 10-15 years around Leadership Development. It is a workbook that has many of the activities that I have used—and continue to use—in workshops and trainings. (ie. the Department of Human Resources, Johns Hopkins, Prologue Inc. etc…) Chip, however, was more of a labor of love. When I was eight years old, I had an assignment to write a poem. What I wrote became my life’s mantra.

Use Everything You Have

To Do Everything You Do

Because Everything You Do

Is A Chip Off Of You

I began sharing that poem when facilitating trainings and workshops, sharing the story behind the poem, and the evolution of it’s meaning. I was encouraged by my better half to sit and finally put pen to paper. After about three years and many edits and versions, Chip was born. I have since developed a workshop specifically around Chip and the idea of figuring out who you are personally and professionally. Currently I am also working on my third book “Goal Cartography: Working Backwards Toward Success”. This book picks up where Chip ends. Goal Cartography is a process that helps an individual to construct a pathway to reach their ultimate goal.

I am honored to be interviewed by the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. I hope that my story encourages others to open themselves up to all that this program has to offer. I truly believe that I am a better leader because of my education at Baruch.