Great leaders aren’t just born, they are taught and mentored. They are shown the way by those who have walked in their shoes. Samantha Burke, a 2014 Purdue College of Liberal Arts and ENTR alumna, is making it her life’s work to help develop the next generation of leaders. Samantha is the Vice President of Programming and Development at Pass the Torch for Women Foundation, a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to grow women leaders in all levels of leadership, government and organizations.
“For five years it has been an honor to work with female college students to provide leadership development courses to help propel them into the workforce and also connect them with executive mentors to forge fruitful relationships, grow their network, and open doors to the professional world.”
The Pass the Torch Foundation also works with developing professionals, who are entry-level and mid-level in their career. These professionals are mentored by more seasoned executives. The executive group of men and women that serve as mentors come from a wide array of backgrounds, experiences and expertise.
Samantha is incredibly proud of the work her organization is doing and the difference she knows they are making in women’s lives. “I wake up every single day knowing that there is a positive purpose in every meeting I take, decision I make, and relationships I build. Working with our CEO to drive strategic plans that will positively impact the community is something that I never tire of and I feel very fortunate to be at a place in my career that makes such a positive impact.”
Samantha credits her parents for fostering her desire to make a positive impact on others’ lives and her time at Purdue for helping prepare for how to turn that into a career. “Participating in the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation program was one of the most enriching parts of my college career, as it helped me gain confidence in myself and propel me in my non-profit career.”
Samantha serves as an alumni panelist in one of the ENTR capstones each semester, where she reflects on her experience in the ENTR program and how it has translated into her career. “The ENTR program taught me to be innovative in my thinking and to identify my identity as a professional. I enjoyed all the wonderful peers I met through the program and the professors were always encouraging me to push past my comfort zone and take risks. The principles I learned in my ENTR classes, I continue to draw upon each day in my career.”
Samantha Burke is a Boilermaker who is not only passing the torch to those she works with every day, but also with the current classes of ENTR students who benefit from her expertise and experience.