alumni Spotlight

April Alumni Spotlight with Maria Osorio, Executive MPA ‘08


Deputy Chief Operating Officer at the Office of Administration at the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, Maria Osorio tells us about the career path that led to this role and how the Executive MPA provided her with the tools to achieve success.

Can you tell us about your career path?
I started working in government as a summer intern while in high school and decided early on I wanted a career in public service. Because of my interest in environmental policy and sustainability, both my Bachelor’s and first Master’s degrees are in Environmental Science.

I started my career working as an environmental scientist in drinking water quality for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, then for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). I switched from policy implementation and enforcement in MA to compliance as the drinking water supplier in NYC.

While working for the DEP, I was recruited by the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Coordination and worked not only on revisions to the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) regulation but also joined the City’s workgroup to develop and implement the new Green Buildings Standard. This was one of multiple sustainable procurement rules written by the City Council which led to my joining the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS), Construction Review Unit. At MOCS, I implemented the Green Buildings Standard, the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Rule, and the Green Cleaning Pilot Program.

At the same time, the City Council passed the Minority and/or Woman owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) Program, another procurement rule applicable to construction contracts. After 5 years at MOCS, the NYC Small Business Services (SBS) reached out to me seeking someone with policy and procurement experience to develop and implement the M/WBE Program. I happily joined SBS as the Assistant Commissioner overseeing M/WBE Certification, Buyer Services, and the Analytics Team.

What led you to become Deputy COO at the Office of Administration at the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development?
After serving as Assistant Commissioner for almost 5 years, DYCD recruited me to act as their M/WBE Senior Advisor to support the development and implementation of a program to increase their M/WBE utilization in both State and City funded contracts. However, during my first year at DYCD, I supported the development of an IT policy, a Human Resources policy, and worked on multiple special projects and investigations unrelated to the M/WBE Program. This led to my promotion to Deputy COO where I support the Deputy Commissioner of the Administration in oversight of Facilities Management, HR, IT, and Fiscal.

Can you give an example of one of the most challenging projects you’ve tackled during your tenure thus far? What are some initiatives you’re currently working on?
Joining DYCD was a challenge for me as I’ve never worked for a Human Client service agency and had no experience working with non-profit organizations. I had to familiarize myself with the services DYCD provides, the non-profits contracted to provide those services, and the population served. Implementing the State M/WBE Program through the purchasing practices of non-profits whose focus is to provide the best services to those in need was a learning experience. Working closely with the Community Development Team, we developed detailed trainings for the non-profits and resource materials to ease their compliance with the M/WBE Program. Additionally, I work closely with Facilities Management to train internal staff on the M/WBE Program and implement policies to incorporate all requirements into agency purchasing practices.

Why did you choose to take part in the Marxe Executive MPA program? What was your experience like? What lessons did you gain?
While I was growing professionally, I began supervising more and more staff. Unfortunately, my studies in the physical sciences didn’t include any coursework on HR Management, Program Evaluation, Budget and Finance or Leadership and Strategy. I felt I needed some additional training in areas that would be beneficial to a manager but needed a program that wouldn’t interrupt my full-time work schedule. After doing my research, the Marxe Executive MPA had what I was looking for and I am grateful for everything I learned from all of the professors and government professionals who instructed me during my years at Baruch.