Professor Douglas Anderson is constantly seeking out ways to grow in his career and impact those around him. This time, his journey is leading him off of Northwestern’s campus. After four years as the professor of practice in business, Anderson will take on the role of director of economic development for the city of Hull, Iowa.
When Anderson graduated from the University of Iowa, he had a degree in political science and plans to be governor of Iowa. However, as Anderson said, “God has a way of messing up your plans… in a good way.”
Anderson’s first job was working on a political campaign. He then moved on to work with nonprofits, focusing on fundraising and management. After years of working in the nonprofit world, he felt led to found the Teen Challenge Kansas City Girls’ Home. After serving as the executive director of the girls’ home, he accepted the position of chief operating officer for the national headquarters of Camp Fire in Kansas City, Missouri. Anderson’s experience of 24 years in the nonprofit sector and background in all business areas has equipped him to teach his students many life skills and pursue a career they love.
“I love working with students,” Anderson said. “Whether it’s advising or sitting with them one-on-one and helping them figure out what matters to them. When you get to help a student figure how they can use their skills and abilities to have the kind of life God intended them to have, that is what I love the most.”
Anderson’s time at NW has been fulfilling for himself and impactful for students. During his time here, he has taught business-related classes and piloted the nonprofit management minor that is available for the first time this semester.
“Dr. Anderson showed a genuine interest in students, Schrock said. “He was very good at walking through things with me when I was considering multiple job offers and advising me through the actual nitty-gritty of each job and what they could do for my career.”
Schrock remembers meeting with Anderson and weighing out all of his priorities and putting into perspective where he wanted his career to go, ultimately deciding to work at NW.
When former NW president of academic affairs, Mark Husbands, reached out to Anderson on Linkedin four years ago, Anderson had no knowledge of NW, but the size and what NW stands for piqued his interest. His background in nonprofit management and passion for seeing growth in students has led to many stories similar to Kaleb Schrock’s, a former student and current director of annual giving at NW.
“What I really wanted to do was help students understand how they are truly, uniquely and wonderfully made by God,” Anderson explained. “The fact that NW not only allows that but encourages and expects it, that was really appealing to me.”
Anderson truly enjoyed counseling students through their final year on campus. He enjoyed the challenge and satisfaction that was to be found in helping students find a job that matters to them.
Although NW will miss Anderson, he plans to stay connected to campus by supporting the theatre and hopefully having interns at his new position in the years to come.
“I will miss the students the most,” Anderson said. “ It’s just really fun to work with young people figuring out who they are and what they love the most; that’s just exciting. On the other hand, I am looking forward to helping a community grow and become a better place to live and work.”
From helping students find their passions to growing communities, Anderson strives to live by the very advice he would give his students: “Find what you love to do, then figure out how to make money doing it.”