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© 2021 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit. EIN: 540907624.

50 for 50: Why I've Spent My Career at Opportunity

By Allison Kooser

Several of Opportunity International’s longest-serving staff members looked back at their careers and reflected on what makes Opportunity special.

We are honored to share their reflections and grateful for their decades of service.

Cindy Schwab-Salem (far right) joins staff, donors, and international visitors at an Opportunity women’s event in Arizona in 2011.
Cindy Schwab-Salem (far right) joins staff, donors, and international visitors at an Opportunity women’s event in Arizona in 2011.

“In my opinion, there is no greater cause than raising money to support hard-working entrepreneurs around the world to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Unlike traditional charity, I love that we empower people to be the instruments of change in their own communities and give their children a chance to achieve their God-given potential. I will never raise money for another cause."

Cindy Schwab-Salem
Director, Philanthropy


 

 

Mary Barry (far right) celebrated the grand opening of Opportunity’s bank in Colombia in 2012 with local staff and partners.
Mary Barry (far right) celebrated the grand opening of Opportunity’s bank in Colombia in 2012 with local staff and partners.

“Simply put—I do this work to help others who need a helping hand. It is a job with purpose, in service to those less fortunate, and everyone in the organization, no matter what position they have, is moving in the same direction—to end poverty.  It is a privilege to work with so many colleagues who are just as dedicated.

One of the best parts of working at Opportunity is seeing the results of our work—the smiling faces of women entrepreneurs, laughing children who are able to go to school, farmers who can feed their families. To know that we played a very small part in that transformation is gratifying. It is the client who did most of the work—they have the grit, the courage, the determination to see past the roadblocks they face and surmount them every time.”

Mary Barry
Director, Office of the CEO


 

“During my tenure at Opportunity, I have enjoyed many terrific experiences both from a professional and personal perspective. Professionally I have enjoyed the type of work that I am able to engage in—my ability to get hands-on in so many different countries, learning about their environments and people. Working in other companies and contexts would not have afforded me such a broad experience.

Personally, I love getting to know my Opportunity colleagues over the years from around the globe. Witnessing their dedication to Opportunity's mission and the people we serve, whether it is here in the United States working with donors, or in the field working on product delivery and directly with clients. It is amazing to work with such passionate people who look outside the box and create innovative ways to meet client needs and provide opportunity.”

- Laura Hollis
Vice President of Human Resources


 

Mark Lutz speaking at the 2010 Opportunity International Summit.
Mark Lutz speaking at the 2010 Opportunity International Summit.

“Opportunity offers the best way I know to empower people to escape generational poverty. During my 30-plus years at Opportunity, I've not come across an organization that provides a better return on my investment, or that offers a more sustainable solution to poverty. Meeting our borrowers and hearing their stories fuels my tank. Their determination and success inspire me to advocate on their behalf.”

- Mark Lutz
Senior Vice President, Philanthropy

 

In this season of gratitude, we give thanks for each and every member of the Opportunity International team. Thank you for investing your time, talent, and energy into this mission; thank you for your innovative thought and creative vision, and thank you for your relentless commitment to families breaking the cycle of poverty.

We are grateful for you!

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