Ph.D. in Community Engagement Alumna Named a 30 Under 30 Honoree by Pittsburgh Business Times Alumni Profile
Meet Maria Montaro '20
- Job Title & Employer
- Lead Consultant, Montaro Consulting Services
- Job Title & Employer
- Community Fundraising Coordinator, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
- Community Engagement-Ph.D.
- Dunmore, Pa.
- High School
- Dunmore High School
- Now Living In
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Dream Job
- Being a full-time consultant for nonprofits
- Hobbies & Interests
- My cat (Katerina) and supporting local restaurants
"Point Park’s Ph.D. in community engagement allows you to explore innovative ways to help organizations and our community. I chose this program because it is unique, flexible and supports adult learners. I was also encouraged by the work that students who had come before me were doing within the program ... The work that you do at Point Park is easily transferrable to the work you can do after graduation."
What does it mean to you to be named a 30 Under 30 honoree by the Pittsburgh Business Times?
I’m so honored to have been selected as a 30 Under 30 winner this year! 2021 was a year like no other, and so many people have done and continue to do amazing work across the region to help people in need. The issue of hunger in our communities was undoubtedly highlighted by the pandemic. I’m lucky enough to work at Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank where we continue to feed children, families and seniors and mobilize our community to eliminate hunger. It means so much to me that this work has been recognized, and I hope that it encourages others to get involved.
What factors led you to pursue a Ph.D. in community engagement from Point Park University?
I think it’s really important to support our nonprofit community in a smart, sustainable way. Point Park’s Ph.D. in community engagement allows you to explore innovative ways to help organizations and our community. I chose this program because it is unique, flexible and supports adult learners. I was also encouraged by the work that students who had come before me were doing within the program.
Tell us about the work you do at Montaro Consulting Services, LLC and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
At Montaro Consulting Services, I work with nonprofit organizations to improve their recruitment, retention and succession planning practices. I focus on attracting and retaining young talent to the sector. It is my goal to work to sustain and develop the nonprofit sector to withstand baby boomer retirement in order to reduce the occurrences of hiring gaps within the sector and maintain a high level of competitiveness with the for-profit and government sectors.
At Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, I am currently a community fundraiser. I have the privilege of working with community and corporate groups to support the services that the food bank continues to provide in the community. During the height of the pandemic, I was part of the volunteer team. This was a vital role throughout the pandemic as the food bank was meeting the unprecedented needs of the community by distributing more than 36.6 million pounds of food from March 16 to December 31, 2020.
Why would you recommend Point Park’s Ph.D. program to a prospective student?
The work that you do at Point Park is easily transferrable to the work you can do after graduation. My study, “Millennial Targeted Recruitment and Retention Strategies in Allegheny County Nonprofit Organizations,” surveyed nonprofit organizations to better understand their succession planning practices. It found that most local nonprofits are not adequately prepared for upcoming baby boomer retirements that are in danger of experiencing a hiring crisis. I was able to create a list of best practices that local nonprofits can follow to maintain a level of competitiveness with the for-profit sector. This will help retain top talent within our organizations and cut down on recruitment costs. From this work, I was able to start Montaro Consulting Services, where I teach local organizations about this work to sustain the high productivity of the sector.