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Kara Pederson

Being part of the Northwestern community means I can be proud. I am proud to be part of Northwestern University. I am proud of the research that is being done within the medical school. I am proud of the work that the Institute for Public Health & Medicine does to impact the community and eliminate health disparities.”

Kara Pederson

Professional Affairs Manager for Institute for Public Health & Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine

After starting her career with the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity, Kara Pederson was accustomed to coworkers with a fierce dedication to their work. She just didn't expect to find that commitment in the higher education field but saw that dedication in her coworkers at Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM).

“IPHAM employees have the same passion for our public health research which extends to the Chicago community and around the globe,” says Pederson. As a professional affairs coordinator, Pederson recruits employees, and a key goal is hiring employees who embody what she considers uniquely Northwestern values. “One of my main goals when hiring new employees is to make sure they will contribute to the positive and enthusiastic culture.”

For Pederson, what really sets Northwestern apart is the way the university helps employees continue to develop once they are hired. “Most organizations do not have formal trainings specifically designed to help employees develop their own careers, even if their long-term career path is not with NU,” says Pederson. “It’s also unique that Northwestern includes personal “Development Objectives” in the Performance Excellence process which help managers encourage their staff to progress outside of their specific position.”

Using such opportunities, Pederson believes that she has and developed professionally. “I’ve had wonderful supervisors who have encouraged me to ask lots of questions but who also trust me, give me autonomy and let me be creative to improve processes.”

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