We enjoy keeping tabs on our former students. We’re not nosey—it’s just fun to hear what they’ve been up to. We recently caught up with Monica Tedeschi Cantor (BA ’94; MA ’95), who is currently taking a stay-at-home “breather” with 2 year-old twins, Melanie and Henry, and her 14 year-old dog, Makita. But, if Monica is getting any rest, it’s certainly well deserved.

Never exactly the lazy sort, during her UConn days Monica belonged to crew and the Russian Club and volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and local halfway houses. Her undergraduate Honors thesis on privatization in Bulgaria drew upon her summer internship with a World Bank consultant in Sofia, and her MA thesis focused on the determinants of health status in developing countries. She graduated Magna Cum Laude as an Honors Scholar in Economics and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and then completed her MA in Economics in 1995.

Monika worked in New York for the next 5 years, including 3 years as an Assistant Treasurer at Chase Manhattan Bank, performing profit and loss analyses of financial derivatives. She also worked for 2 years at Mitsui & Co. as a Trading Assistant in the execution of corn, soybean and soybean oil future trades.

Returning to school in 2000, Monica spent the next two years at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), where she worked on the Journal of International Affairs, received a foreign language scholarship and studied French in Nice. She also received a program assistant fellowship during her second year and completed two research internships with the United Nations, focusing particularly on U.N / private sector partnerships.

From 2002 to 2004, Monica worked as an Analyst and Senior Analyst at the New York City Office of Management and Budget (NYCOMB), helping to oversee the City’s budgetary process in regards to the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the NYC Planning Department, and the NYC Building Department. Responsibilities included budget and personnel analyses, meeting with senior officials, and management of internal processes.

Monika then joined NYCEDC—a quasi-public agency under the direction of a President and the City’s Deputy Mayor and Mayor. NYCEDC develops and implements programs and capital projects that foster economic growth in the City, including job creation. From 2004-2005 she worked in the Strategic Planning Department, where two of her major projects included a program to help ensure Minority and Women Business-Owned Enterprises (MWBEs) had a voice at NYCEDC and throughout City agencies, and a recommendation to the Mayor on how to approach Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs).

Later, as a Financial Strategist and Vice President in the Budget Department (2005-2007), she helped oversee and manage a team of ten budget analysts that carried out NYCEDC‘s fiscal responsibilities. They initiated strategic alliances between departments such as the Real Estate Group and the Capital Projects Group, and between agencies such as NYCEDC’s Economic Group and NYC Office of Management and Budget’s Economic Group. One of the most significant projects included research and recommendations to the President and the Mayor on Tax Incentive Financing (TIFs).

You can see why we’re hoping Monica will be able to participate in one of the professional experience panels at our forthcoming Graduate Reunion and Forum, scheduled for April 2, 2010. Children and pets are welcome too!

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