Leaning on Our Values, Together

Five Questions with Celine Mactaggart MNA '06

by Eva Reyes, Office of Development Communications

Celine Mactaggart MNA '06, Chair of the Women in Leadership & Philanthropy Advisory Board and graduate of USF's Master's of Nonprofit Administration shares how her success in many professional and personal endeavors continues to be driven by the values and connections that were birthed during her time at USF.

What does ‘Changing the World from Here’ mean to you?
To me, ‘Changing the World from Here’ means leading with one’s values. So much of USF’s philanthropy – striving to promote a humane and just world, honoring a diversity of perspectives, and serving others – resonates with the values I carry with me in my personal and professional life. 
Looking back at your time at USF and the years spent after graduation, what is the impact that USF has created in your life thus far? 
USF’s Master’s of Nonprofit Administration Program was one of the first of its kind in the country, thus making it a groundbreaker in my eyes. My professors were incredible as they were passionate about both their careers and advancing their students as leaders in the nonprofit sector by giving us the best tools to serve others. This, in turn, gave me a really strong foundation.
What inspires you to give back to Women in Leadership & Philanthropy?
This has been a very atypical year with the pandemic, and so much of Women in Leadership & Philanthropy is community building - which we were only able to do from a distance. In my year as Chair, I'm particularly proud of the connections we made with women leaders from campus. We met with Professor Candice Harrison, Director of the  Black Achievement Success and Engagement (BASE), and Professor Rachel Thomas, founding director of the Center for Applied Data Ethics (CADE), to learn more about their personal experiences, and the wonderful programs they are running. Also, having our student representatives talk to our board about student life during the pandemic was eye-opening. Our students are living with so much uncertainty and are continually adjusting to new changes. I’m in awe of their optimism, their dedication to making the USF community better, and being there for one another. I continue to give back to USF and Women in Leadership & Philanthropy because of these incredible women leaders - our students and our professors.
Is there someone, such as a professor, peer, or advisor, that had or continues to have a substantial impact on your college experience?
I often think about a former cohort member of mine from the MA Nonprofit Administration Program. She was a single mother going to graduate school at night for her master’s degree. At the time I was in a much different phase of life, but now, as a working mother with three young kids, I am even more in awe of her determination. I wish I realized it at the time, and I wish we did more to support women, who are also mothers or experiencing different phases of life, in starting or going back to school.
What is a piece of advice you can give to current Dons?
Look around you, learn from your classmates, be open to them, and ask them questions. Truly listen. I feel blessed to have made some amazing friends who serve with me on the Women in Leadership & Philanthropy board – women who are enterprising, inspirational, and have so many vast experiences. It’s been a great source of support during the pandemic. You are part of a wonderful community and can learn so much from each other… cherish that.
Learn more about USF’s Women in Leadership & Philanthropy initiative