Reader to Reader, Inc

Program Coordinator

August 2017 - June 2019 • Amherst, MA

What I liked

Especially in my first year, I was able to take a lead on many projects, and work to improve sustainability within the mentor program. My first supervisor was wonderful and always encouraged me to think outside the box and come up with more effective and efficient methods of doing our work. This continued until halfway through my second year when leadership changed. I have had the wonderful experience of becoming friends with one of my coworkers this year, and it has sustained me through difficult times. It was wonderful getting to work with college students around the Five Colleges, getting to know them, and see them grow in their mentoring work and as people. This was perhaps the most rewarding aspect of this position.

What I wish was different

I wish organizational leadership was different. Currently, there is one paid employee (our executive director) in our Amherst office, the rest of us are service members. It took incredible persistence to convince our ED to fairly compensate employees for their work going forward. The ED tends to be a micromanager, and in my opinion has crossed ethical/legal boundaries in tasks that he has asked us to execute, without allowing us to say no. He also tends to be deeply suspicious of those who work in the office, and does not trust us to do our work, even though he does not understand how the mentor program currently functions. Organizational missions and projects tend to be driven by white saviorism, without real concern for populations served. He openly prefers organizational staff in New Mexico over Amherst. The ED has made multiple people in the office cry, and shown no sense of awareness of what he had done. He has little social awareness and will talk to staff for up to an hour without stopping and without purpose, sometimes following staff to the door of the office as they leave. He is aware that he is prone to monologuing, but fails to make any changes to his behavior. There is a lack of institutional knowledge of the mentor program. Besides our ED, who founded the organization, I am currently the longest serving employee at two years admin, two years mentoring. The ED does not have a current sense of how the mentor program is run, nor has he tried to learn. Mentor program leadership for the next school year will be based on ten months of service experience. There is poor communication between leadership and others in the office, causing tasks to fall through the cracks. It is incredibly difficult to know what's happening, and the office is only four people. Leadership fails to/actively resists delegating tasks, to their detriment. While I love the mentor program and it has played an important role in my life, I have no faith in long-term organization sustainability.


I would not recommend working at this organization.
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