Colleen RossignolColleen Rossignol Reflects on Her HKS Executive Education Experience 

Colleen Rossignol, co-founder and director of The Village Link, recently joined us for a Q&A about her experience as a leader of a nonprofit and how she is using her lessons from Leading Successful Programs: Using Evidence to Assess Effectiveness.

Q: Can you tell us about your current role and what led you to pursue your career in the nonprofit sector?

A: I am the co-founder of The Village Link, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides access to early childhood education, clean water, and sanitation in rural Sierra Leone. I am also the Special assistant to the dean for global affairs at the University of Rhode Island, College of Education and Professional Studies. In this role I design, implement, and monitor meaningful and impactful international programs for faculty and students. I originally started my career in marketing working with top tier brands like Microsoft and Samsung. After years of corporate marketing, I was feeling burnt out with no job satisfaction or fulfillment. I transitioned into nonprofit/higher education because I was hoping to find a career where I could drive positive impact in people’s lives. 

Q:  How did you come across HKS Executive Education and what were you hoping to accomplish by attending a program?

A: I’ve been operating The Village Link for the past eight and a half years. After years of designing rural development programs, I felt like I needed formal education to better understand how we should track and monitor our programs success and impact. I initially did a search for impact measurement and evaluation methods and that’s when I found HKS Executive Education. When I read the content of Leading Successful Programs: Using Evidence to Assess Effectiveness, I knew I had to apply. It was exactly what I was looking for. I was mainly hoping to gain the knowledge to monitor programs and impact measurement methods. I came away with that and much more. It was amazing to hear so many other people from all over the world in larger organizations like the United Nations or foreign governments, we’re also dealing with similar challenges as my small nonprofit. 

Q: What do you see as your next challenge in your job and how will your learnings assist you?

A: This program gave me the drive to continue building a path forward to achieve my career goals of working in a larger organization that has the ability to drive large scale impact. With URI I have an organization with more resources and expertise to exercise the methods I learned in this HKS executive education program. Because of this program, I have the foundation to build and track impactful programs and a professional network of peers. 


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