Stephanie Shalkowski
Stephanie Shalkoski
Associate Director, Alumni Programs & Engagement at HBS

“Making the theoretical practical. That’s one of the things I loved most about the program.” 

Her passion is learning. Yet, Stephanie Shalkoski is also a doer who wanted to build a public policy toolkit she could start using immediately to create positive change in her current position as Associate Director of Alumni Programs & Engagement at Harvard Business School, as well as in her local community. For Stephanie, the Public Leadership Credential (PLC) proved to be the perfect program.  

“With the PLC, you not only get all the academic elements, like the terms, the technology, the big concepts. But you also get specific frameworks for the current challenges you are facing or an initiative you want to start. You leave the program with tangible tools you can apply right away to make things happen.”

Providing learners like Stephanie with the skills and knowledge they need to “make things happen” has been the goal of the PLC from day one. Drawing on the pedagogical strategies from Harvard faculty, the program is comprised of six six-week courses in three subject areas, with a curriculum designed to help you develop the critical thinking capabilities needed to support and lead real change.

“The Policy course has been particularly helpful in figuring out how I can successfully move forward on complex projects at work and in my community. Learning how to create a narrative that identifies the audience, shows the value prop, uses data to support the change, provides a pathway to scale and manage that change along the way are things you can use whether you’re working with a public or private organization. In fact, during the same time I was going through the PLC, I became involved with a local group of action volunteers for the environment, and I found I could immediately apply what I was learning to help address some real concerns people had within the community.”

Prior to earning her PLC credential, Stephanie completed a certificate program at the Harvard Extension School in 2017 and had also taken a couple of in-person courses at Harvard Kennedy School. But the PLC’s fully online format was new to her. It’s also one of the big reasons she now recommends the program to peers.

“The PLC is super high value for the investment. You can literally attend from home or anywhere in the world. You can do it without any experience in any of the three subject areas. You have access to HKS professors, which is real value-add for an online program. The curriculum is well packaged, the content is fresh, the workload manageable. And you get to meet and work with like-minded people from across the globe while gaining all these new skills and foundations for your future.” 

Speaking of Stephanie’s future, how has earning a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard helped prepare her to create positive change going forward? 

“Someday, I would like to facilitate business and public partnerships that help strengthen communities and improve society. Thanks to everything I learned in the PLC, I now feel I have the toolkit to do that.”