Alan Anderson

Executive director of neighborhood and community relations, northwestern university

Alan Anderson currently works as the Executive Director of Neighborhood and Community Relations for Northwestern University, but has had jobs in many different fields leading to his career today.

Anderson's very first job was doing landscaping work at the age of 10. He was responsible for shoveling snow, raking leaves, and mowing grass for neighbors.

"The first time I actually got, aside from neighbors," says Anderson, "was in high school as a coach for kids at a basketball camp." Anderson explains that he gained this opportunity from playing on the varsity basketball team when he was 16.

Anderson had his first "tax-paying" job completing an internship with Ford Motor Company directly after he graduated high school in his hometown of Detroit.

"It was really cool," says Anderson, "because they had an international office just across the border in Windsor, Canada."

Anderson was responsible for designing a new office space, which he describes as a very fun problem-solving experience.

"I'm a guy who loves solving problems," says Anderson. "I like coming up with creative solutions I can sustain. As I've gotten older I've continued to think this way throughout my careers."

Anderson says his first jobs were all critical in teaching him how to approach any situation, no matter how challenging.

"Every opportunity should be viewed as a chance to learn, even when you make mistakes," says Anderson. "You have the do the things you're passionate about."