Erin Berthon

Erin Berthon, MA  Career Manager, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, at Chapman University

A successful career in the non-profit sector has garnered Natalie Reider (‘06 BA Art History) a 40 Under 40 award by the Irvine Chamber of Commerce. She has spent the past eight years working at Jamboree Housing Corporation, where she has worked her way up to Senior Vice President of Community Operations. The award recognizes the next-generation of business leaders and advocates who are making strides in their industries and the business community in Orange County. I sat down with her to learn about how her time at Chapman was pivotal to her career, and asked her to give our current students advice on how to be successful in their chosen career paths.

Erin Berthon: Tell us about Jamboree Housing Corporation and what your job is there.

Natalie Reider: Jamboree is a nonprofit affordable housing developer. Our mission is to transform lives and communities. We’ve built over 100 affordable apartment complexes throughout California and own over $1B in assets. I’m the Senior Vice President of Community Operations and I oversee the asset management, property management and services for our communities.

EB: I see you have been working there for some time now and have had a few different  positions, what is that process like, and what skills did you take from each position?

NR: Yes, I joined Jamboree as the Director of Community Impact and was responsible for designing after school programs, workforce development programs, as well as social and health and wellness programs for our residents. I also took on our evaluation efforts and worked closely with researchers to measure our impact and learned how to write and deliver surveys and produce information that could be used for advocacy and grants. I became Vice President of the department and took on the company’s strategic planning process and annual business planning process. My recent promotion to Senior Vice President has expanded my skill set in the asset management and property management fields.

Natalie Reider

EB: How did your major in Art History help you at your job?

NR: I always tell everyone that Art History was the best major because it teaches you excellent critical thinking skills that I use daily. I am always assessing situations, trying to dig deeper into a problem and look at the context of an issue.

EB: When you were at Chapman, did you have an internship, if so, was that important?

NR: I was an RA and I worked in Student LEAD while at Chapman which has absolutely prepared me for my role. I credit the intensive training I received as an RA with helping me to design resident programs for the families and adults living in my properties. My ability to work as a team with my colleagues and to be a leader and mentor all stems from the work I did while at Chapman.

EB: Did you know what you wanted to do while you were in college?

NR: Not at all! I thought maybe something in the art world, so my first job out of college was working for a community foundation and supporting their arts grantmaking, and getting into the nonprofit field led me to this career I’m in today.

EB: Do you have any advice for students who are in a major and not quite sure what to do with it? 

NR: Think about improving the skills you’ll need no matter the “job”: the ability to write and communicate well; working as a team; problem-solving and developing creative solutions. Also, reach out and meet with as many people as you can and talk to them about their careers, or do an internship so you can try it out. It’s hard to always know what a career looks like unless you get the inside info.

EB: How important is networking for you?

NB: I did get nearly all of my jobs through networking. The first one was through Craigslist and I am very lucky I got that one. But after that, each move I made was through a connection I had made through work.

“I am so grateful for the experiences I had at Chapman, professionally, personally and academically. College is so unique as that transition from childhood to adulthood and I was lucky I went to Chapman where I gained tools inside and outside of the classroom to become independent and successful.”