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Drexel MBA Student Begins Prestigious Valley Vision Fellowship | People

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Drexel MBA Student Begins Prestigious Valley Vision Fellowship
People, Schools
Drexel MBA Student Begins Prestigious Valley Vision Fellowship

SACRAMENTOSally Phonthachack wants to some day run her own nonprofit organization and be a mentor to young people.

The daughter of Laotian parents who immigrated to the United States when she was an infant, Phonthachack is currently working toward her master’s degree and helping a Sacramento nonprofit organization, believing these two endeavors will help provide a springboard toward her goal.

Phonthachack this month began working full-time in a fellowship position with Valley Vision, while she continues to pursue her master’s in business administration at Drexel University’s Center for Graduate Studies in Sacramento.

In her new position, Phonthachack will assist senior Valley Vision staff in crafting the Valley Vision’s “Next Economy,” a highly visible, strategic regional effort aimed at accelerating jobs and new investment in the Greater Sacramento area.

“We had an overwhelming number of highly qualified candidates apply for the Next Economy Fellow position,” said Bill Mueller, CEO of Valley Vision and a member of the Next Economy management team. “In a field of great candidates, Sally was the clear front runner. She has the work experience, skill set, and the community connections to make this vital regional initiative a success. And being a Drexel MBA student made Sally stand out all the more.”

Phonthachack has overcome extraordinary life circumstances on her way to becoming an involved and accomplished community leader. Her family of six escaped from their war-torn homeland of Laos and eventually wound up in Sacramento. 

Despite numerous obstacles to her family and herself, Phonthachack graduated from Grant High School, earned a two-year degree at American River College, and later became the first in her family to obtain a bachelor’s degree by attending the California State University, Sacramento, earning a B.S. in Business Administration with a Marketing concentration in 2009.

Phonthachack has a long record of community involvement which includes serving as a board member for the North Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, participating in the Leadership and Advocacy training with the South East-Asian Action Resource Center, and acting Team Lead for the Sacramento Asian-Pacific Chamber of Commerce Catalyst Leadership Program.

She was also a committee member for the International Lao New Year’s Festival and the annual Lao Education Conference, and also served as a community liaison while working at SMUD.  Currently, she is one of three co-chairs for the Hmong Mien Lao Community Action Network, representing the Lao community.

Phonthachack was the winner of the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce Catalyst Scholarship at Drexel University, which provides $20,000 in tuition on any graduate degree at Drexel’s Center in Sacramento.

“I enjoy the collaborative work environment at Valley Vision.  Working with a core group of very dedicated leaders in Sacramento’s nonprofit sector is a plus,” Phonthachack said. “I’m a huge believer in nonprofits and what they can do for the community. This is an exciting opportunity for me. I will be learning about what’s in store for Sacramento and discover how I can help strengthen our communities.”

The Drexel University scholarship reduced the financial obstacles in obtaining her graduate degree and will give Phonthachack the innovative management tools and knowledge to move forward as a community leader.

“Drexel is an institution that encourages and invests in experiential work for our students,” said Dr. Sandra Kirschenmann, Associate Vice Provost of Drexel University and Executive Director for the university’s Center for Graduate Studies. “Sally will have a whole team of educators behind her as she embarks on this great experience at Valley Vision. Drexel is committed to being very involved with our community as we build educational programs here in the Greater Sacramento region.”

Drexel’s Graduate Center opened in January 2009 and offers programs focused on the heart of Greater Sacramento’s growth and economic development initiatives, including business, human resource development, higher education and public health. Classes fit with the students’ working and are a blend of in-class and on-line pedagogies. Drexel offers extensive financial aid programs for students, including special scholarship funds for Sacramento students.

For more information on Drexel's graduate programs in California, visit www.drexel.edu/sacramento or call (888) 389-3781 or (916) 325-4600

People, Schools