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, Fall plans, and potential dinner party guests. We’ve also asked each supervisor to share a few words about their intern.
Enjoy learning a little more about them and their roles at OFN. First up is coding whiz, Mingming Mao.
Name: Mingming Mao
OFN Department: Knowledge Sharing
Major & School: Pursuing an M.A. in Financial Engineering at New York University
Hometown: Ningbo, China
Hidden Talent: Runs half marathons in her free time
What attracted you to the CDFI industry/ OFN? What made you apply to OFN?
I had never heard about the CDFI industry, but I found that this field is new and interesting to me, and it fits in my major. The projects the Knowledge Sharing team was working on were interesting. It’s a totally new field, different from what I formally know.
Tell us about some of the projects you are working on. How will these projects help OFN and/or the industry?
I’m working on three projects. One is analyzing data on CDFIs led by people of color. We’re dipping into 25-30 variables for that. I’m also helping the team revisit OFN Member capacity scores model for OFN’s annual report. The last project is getting a statistical point of view on the success of our Member financial awards. All of this research is going to help OFN and the industry learn more about ourselves and how we can grow the industry.
What have you learned about OFN and the CDFI industry that you didn’t know when you started?
I’ve looked at the data OFN has collected, and OFN Members are largely self-sufficient. That means that these CDFIs are not leaning heavily on loans year after year, they’re depending on their own income. It means that OFN and CDFIs are helping people to develop their business— to really control their own business. It means that what we’re doing is helpful and we’re not just giving out money and seeing if the businesses can survive in the end. That’s really impressive to me.
After OFN I’ll go to China, spend a couple weeks there with my family and friends, and come back here to start school at NYU again.
If you could have dinner with any one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Most probably don’t know him, but his name is Roy Wong. He’s only seventeen but he’s been famous as an entertainer in China for four years. His energy is something I want to have, and I’d like to know more about his story. He can always bring an upside spirit to people and I want to learn from a person that is younger than me, but stronger than me.
What are you going to take away from this experience? What’s your lasting impression of OFN and CDFIs?
I’m using real world data. In school, the examples in textbooks always work out how you expect. In the real world, it’s not like that. You struggle and play with data. We can’t always predict what results we’re going to get. I might spend time and not get results, but that’s the way you learn, and practice, and that’s the power of knowledge.
“OFN already knew that Mingming is extremely intelligent and highly skilled in statistical analysis. Now we can add to the list an inspiring and uplifting personality and a passion for community development. Mingming’s statistical modeling is moving OFN’s research into uncharted territory, such as our analysis of CDFI Fund awards, CDFIs led by people of color, and OFN’s CDFI Capacity Score. We are thrilled to have Mingming at OFN this summer.” —Lance Loethen, Vice President of Research, Knowledge Sharing