Strategy Challenge Leads to a New Chapter for CPNYC

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Strategy Challenge Leads to a New Chapter for CPNYC

Posted by Anita, Debbie, Michael, & Rovic, Team Members for Children of Promise, NYC
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.@MorganStanley team working with @CPNYC06 blogs about experience, long-term impact of the #StrategyChallenge14:
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 11:00am


For the four of us, the Strategy Challenge has offered a series of exciting opportunities to enhance our professional capabilities – presentation, client management and project management skills, to name a few— as well as an opportunity to step outside of our comfort zones to develop new skills. After working with our partners at Children of Promise, NYC for eight weeks, we faced one last challenge: the Final Event.

The competition among the 12 teams participating in the Strategy Challenge combined all of the emotion and experiences of the project into an intense 12-hour day. We went through our presentation – a packed 15-minute summary of hundreds of hours of work, reams of data and extensive analysis – just a few feet away from the panel of judges, as well as an audience of about 40 people. Sharon and Rebecca, our clients from CPNYC, our Managing Director advisor and other Morgan Stanley colleagues were there to support us. Adding to the pressure were a video camera, huge lights and an enormous clock to let us know when our brief time with the judges had run out.

We put tremendous effort into the project and our presentation, so naturally we were disappointed when we didn’t advance to the second round of the competition. It would’ve been rewarding to be recognized across the firm for our work; however, we realize that the competition is ancillary to the Strategy Challenge and its impact.

Rather, our project was about making a difference in the community where we live and work. Together the four of us analyzed the core question, should CPNYC expand to a second site in Central Harlem? After digging into every aspect of the organization, our answer is a qualified “yes.”

We made several recommendations and suggested CPNYC take three steps in the near term before expanding to empower even more children of incarcerated parents: 1) diversify its funding base; 2) make changes to its organizational structure; and 3) implement a new model to maximize partnerships. Each of these suggestions is already underway at CPNYC – a thrilling validation of our efforts. Finally, we recommended that CPNYC raise the funds to open a second location over the next two years.

When we finished our Final Event presentation, Sharon had three minutes to speak to the judges about the impact of the Strategy Challenge on CPNYC and the children they serve. She discussed her dream of launching the organization and how the Strategy Challenge expanded that dream in ways she never imagined before. Sharon spoke with great emotion, and her comments had a powerful effect on the room.

We would like to thank Sharon, Rebecca and the entire CPNYC staff for welcoming us into their organization and sharing their depth of knowledge. We also appreciate the support and guidance of our Managing Director advisor Dan Kosowsky and other advisors who guided us along the way. This experience has had a life-changing effect on all of us both personally and professionally. We’re truly grateful to have had the chance to participate in a program as meaningful as the Strategy Challenge.

This is our final update, but we’re proud to say that the project doesn’t end here; it’s only the beginning. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for CPNYC.

For more information about the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge, please visit:

Keywords: Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Children of Promise | Morgan Stanley | Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge | NYC | Probono | nonprofit | volunteer