Each summer, OFN interns have been outstanding additions to our two offices, and this year is no different. Our four interns share a passion for OFN’s work and a desire to grow the CDFI industry. To introduce you to these remarkable future leaders, Strategic Communications intern, Anna Gomez is sitting down with an intern each week. They’ll talk OFN, CDFIs, Summer fun, and potential dinner party guests. We’ve also asked each supervisor to share a few words about their intern. Last week, we learned about Caitlin Tardio and her experiences with our Policy team in DC.
This week, we learn a little more about Strategic Consulting intern, Jeff Altmeier, and the he role plays at OFN.
Name: Jeff Altmeier
OFN Department: Strategic Consulting
Major & School: Pursuing a BA in Economics at University of Pennsylvania
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Hidden Talent: “I can hold a note for an unusual amount of time, not a high note, but something mid-range. I learned I could do it in Boy Scouts—it’s completely useless unless I suddenly decide to go into Opera.”
What attracted you to the CDFI industry/OFN? What made you apply to OFN?
I hadn’t heard about the CDFI industry prior to coming here. At the time, I was just looking to see what was out there for me. I didn’t really know what I wanted to get involved in, and I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself either. But, I have a background that I think prepared me: I took a leave of absence after my second year in college to do some soul-searching, and during that time I worked at a homeless shelter in West Philly as a residential aide. I also worked at Penn’s Netter Center that has programming in West Philly schools. I was working on the back end of things, doing some data analysis– I have been able to use those skills here.
Tell us about some of the projects you are working on. How will they help OFN and/or the industry?
I have an exciting hodgepodge of projects! Right now, I’m helping the Strategic Consulting team with a client that is a major bank. I’m compiling information from Progress Reports into a summary for the bank on the community investments it has made. I’m also converting the OFN Operations Guide into a new manual and format. We’re taking the entire chapter based on Small Business Lending, revising it, and bringing it into the 21st century.
A lot of what I’m doing is behind the scenes work, so it’s sometimes hard to see the impact. But I think anything that will improve the quality and efficiency of what OFN does for all parties involved, definitely has an impact—and that motivates me for sure.
What have you learned about OFN and the CDFI industry that you didn’t know when you started?
I knew that there were institutions that focus on expanding access to financing for small business owners– because as we know, not all entrepreneurs qualify for loans by big banks—but after seeing just how established this industry is and the huge reach we have, the impact OFN has is massive. Realizing this industry exists, how many people are involved, the enthusiasm of everyone involved, especially in this office, to know where our work is going toward— I’ve really picked up on it, and it has resolidified my passion for making a difference.
What are you up to this summer when you’re not at OFN?
I’m working part-time at a bar and restaurant, but I still try to maintain some kind of social life! I like a lot of outdoorsy things, and I’ve been to a few good concerts this summer.
If you could have dinner with any one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
A cultural icon: Dave Grohl. I love the Foo Fighters, and he seems like a great person to talk to.
What are you going to take away from this experience? What’s your lasting impression of OFN and CDFIs?
Before this experience, I think I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but now I’m really set on working for an organization that is mission-driven, or is proactive in their community development initiatives. Additionally, I’ve learned a lot about working with different software; I’ve gained insight on the industry as a whole and how CDFIs operate in the lending space. I’ll be leaving with a sense that I’ve made a contribution here, and I’m really happy with the connections I’ve made.
“Jeff is working on a range of projects for Consulting from helping us convert legacy content into more dynamic web-based content, to summarizing growth plan updates by one of our consulting cohorts. He also works at a restaurant renowned for their local beer selection. He’s definitely the one to consult about up-and-coming craft brewers in Philadelphia! We are thrilled he’s contributing his talents to OFN and hope he spreads the word about our field to his classmates in Economics at Penn.”
-Pam Porter, Executive Vice President, Strategic Consulting