Blogger: Alisha Browne, Web Developer and Marketing Coordinator for CSB (This article originally appeared on WilmingtonBiz.com Insights Blog on July 1, 2018)
When JC Lyle '18M thinks of housing, she thinks of more than a roof and four walls – she sees every house as a home; a refuge from the world, and somewhere that should be welcoming, comfortable and safe.
“I was lucky growing up – I lived in the same home until I went to college. I knew there were other people who didn’t have a secure and happy place as I did. I always wanted to help individuals with this essential aspect of their lives.”
As the Executive Director of Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry Inc. (WARM), JC organizes volunteers and raises funds to complete safety-related urgent home repairs and accessibility upgrades for low-income homeowners in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender Counties. The organization depends on donations, grants and fundraising to sustain their mission. As of May 2018, WARM has helped repair 1,074 homes in the 21 years it has been in operation – but the number of people they have touched exceeds that significantly.
Even before becoming its Executive Director in 2009, Lyle volunteered with WARM while she worked in the for-profit housing sector, including apartment leasing and subdivision design. In addition to her full-time work, Lyle was appointed to the Wilmington Planning Commission in March and graduated from Cameron School of Business’ Professional M.B.A. program in May. Lyle said she saw the benefits of the M.B.A. curriculum right away – “While I was in the program, people would ask me, ‘So, what are you going to do with your M.B.A. degree?’ To which I would reply, ‘I’m already doing it!’”
Lyle says the faculty in the Professional M.B.A. program make the experience more meaningful by frequently allowing students to choose their own topics for research and assignments; she was able to walk away with completed projects that directly benefited WARM on several occasions over the two years she was involved. She says that each professor is committed to ensuring that every person gets what they need out of the degree.
Lyle’s future with WARM is optimistic – she is working to bring the organization’s technology to the next level, making it easier for people to request assistance, volunteer and donate. In addition, Lyle is looking to start a social enterprise through WARM. “Like most non-profits, we are dependent on policy decisions and the good will of others; I’d like us to be in control of our destiny a bit more, keeping us sustainable over time.”
To learn more about Cameron’s graduate programs, please visit: https://csb.uncw.edu/grad.