Introducing Our Associates!

January 22, 2024, 9:01am EDT

As 2024 comes to a start, the Partnership is pleased to announce that it had expanded its team with a new tier of teammates. Three associates are excited to join the team with the shared mission of advancing regional economic prosperity.

In May of 2023, Rachel Cronin joined the team as the Economic Opportunity Associate. In November, the team expanded further with two new associates: Sue Joe, Workforce Development Associate, and KeAndrea Rivers, Student Engagement Associate.

Rachel joins the team after serving six years at Georgia State University (GSU) as an institutional researcher. While working at GSU, she obtained her master’s in public policy. She is an advocate for social equity, environmental justice and animal welfare. In her free time, she enjoys reconnecting with nature – caring for her residential biome of plants and animals and going for hikes. She remains engaged in the Metro Atlanta community, where she collects resources to provide to underserved populations.

Sue joins the team after working at the University of Georgia for ten years. There she served as the Training and Education Program Coordinator for the local and state government financial officials, as Program Specialist for the International Center in the Institute of Government, and the Terry College of Business as Assistant Director for Career Management for the Professional and Executive MBA Programs. An explorer by nature, Sue enjoys interests and activities as diverse as travel, dining out, sports, music and art.

KeAndrea joins the team with a background in education, technology and leadership. From streamlining data for military families at Oracle Health to fostering student success in the Atlanta Public School System, KeAndrea has a proven track record of driving positive change. Her passion for equity, innovation and education shines through in her work. In her free time, KeAndrea enjoys reading a good book, exploring new places or laughing with loved ones over a delicious meal.

The associates engaged in a Q&A session to share more about their exciting experiences as the Partnership’s newest teammates.

What excites you most about working here?

• Rachel: I’m excited about finding an organization that covers so many areas of impact. As someone who struggles on where to focus their efforts to provide the most support, working at the Partnership is very fulfilling. From poverty reduction to supporting environmental sustainability, our programs encompass a wide range of equitable good doing.

• Sue: I am excited to be a part of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation (PIN) team. Joining the PIN team signifies more than a career transition from the University of Georgia to the Georgia Institute of Technology; it aligns me with our shared vision, inspiring me to contribute to building a more equitable and thriving Georgia through inclusive innovation.

• KeAndrea: I’m excited to impact higher education students all across the nation through creating impactful experiences during their time interns and beyond. The Partnership has created a statewide phenomenon by supporting students and organizations from all areas, especially underserved areas, with the opportunity to serve in their passion for a community providing experiential collaboration, networking and mentorship. Our team here at the Partnership is unique. It is one of a kind, and I am happy to not only contribute but watch our organization thrive and prosper.

What are you hoping to achieve in your first year here?

• Rachel: I was brought on to develop a community-focused leadership program, which launches in April. With my one-year anniversary just around the corner, seeing this program launch successfully, and seeing people benefit from my team’s collective efforts in developing this program, will be the biggest win for me.

• Sue: In my first year, my goal is to achieve full engagement to provide effective support for our fellows in the fellowship program. I plan to cultivate stronger connections with our fellows and employers, actively seeking opportunities to broaden both our industry verticals and the number of fellows we can serve.

• KeAndrea: I am excited about my first cohort for our summer internship program. I am looking forward to meeting our student interns, learning more about their passions and helping them achieve their professional and personal goals. Our time together will be brief but pivotal to their future success. Additionally, I hope to network with colleagues, develop my public speaking skills and immerse myself in PIN, EI2 and Georgia Tech’s rich cultures.

Do you have any hidden talents or unexpected skills that might be useful here?

• Rachel: I am good at jumping in and filling gaps in programs and organizations. I hope that my ability to shapeshift and support our team helps as our organization sets its roots. It may not be a very hidden “talent,” but something I do not tell people often is that I’m highly empathetic. Reading social situations and responding to them has helped support others, particularly my fellow introverts, in the past.

• Sue: My StrengthsFinder assessment reveals that execution with a harmonious approach is my key strength. I thrive in collaborative environments, where I consistently seek consensus and areas of agreement, minimizing potential conflicts. I naturally take deep psychological ownership of my commitments and am fully dedicated to maintaining stable values and direction.

• KeAndrea: Like Rachel, I am highly empathetic and truly enjoy making those around me feel heard, seen and valued. During my time as an educator, I worked with students who have learning exceptionalities. My students and my colleague at the time shapeshifted my heart and mind forever to show grace, love and compassion even when it is difficult or challenging. Many have said that I have a way of building community, and serving a resource and connection, whether it be personal or professional. My superpower is my gift of gab and voice of reason. Ultimately, I love to help others and see them smile.

How do you see your role contributing to the company’s mission and values?

• Rachel: There is such an emphasis on community-up building at the Partnership. With our new program launching, I really hope to see more communities have inclusive and measurable beneficial outcomes.

• Sue: All our pillars in the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation are integral to the economic development effort in the state of Georgia. My role in the workforce development sphere will not only be connected to the PIN fellowship—serving early career professionals and equipping them with the necessary skill sets and experiences in each industry vertical—but will also involve cultivating partnerships between public, private and non-profit sectors. I believe this partnership plays a critical role in building a strong ecosystem for all these sectors to actively engage in innovation and create positive social impact.

• KeAndrea: My role is all about curating a memorable internship experience for our student interns. Our mission of creating and developing the next generation of innovators is also my mission. I hope to give back and contribute to their success and the communities that have raised me through public service, innovation and technology.

What advice would you give your future self at the end of your first year in your role as a program associate?

• Rachel: Remember what you’ve learned in your experiences and career journey to this role. Apply what you’ve learned here and be ready to learn so much more. Designate time for every to-do in your workweek to optimize productivity and provide yourself with the structure to succeed.

• Sue: I would say, “be a great addition to the team.” This is what I am striving for with our Workforce Development pillar. Clarence Anthony, Jr. (Workforce Development manager) has built the program significantly in a short period of time, and I aim to carry on his legacy and be a valuable addition to our fellowship program.

• KeAndrea: I would remind myself that I am the woman for the job. My life, my experiences and drive were the perfect match to further encourage and inform students and communities about our work. We are at the precipice of innovation and collaboration, and I could not have chosen a better organization to join and add value to!

Sue Joe
KeAndrea Rivers
Rachel Cronin

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