Meet Vince Marigna, Executive Director of Braven – Newark

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Vince Marigna, Braven-Newark Executive Director
Vince Marigna, Braven-Newark Executive Director

As the newest member of the Braven – Newark team, Vince Marigna will help ensure that thousands of students at Rutgers University – Newark gain the skills, confidence, experiences and networks necessary to successfully transition from college to career. We had the chance to sit down with Vince and hear a bit about his past, his present, and what he hopes for the future. Check out the interview below!

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Braven External Affairs Staff: Tell us a little about your background. Where did you grow up and what did you want to be when you grew up?

Vince: I grew up in a small town in New Jersey called Pemberton. It is a rural, farming town. Growing up, I wanted to be a broadcast journalist because I enjoyed helping others tell their stories. I was inspired by the likes of Peter Jennings and Ed Bradley. I also was fortunate enough to go to a high school with a robust media department, which included a TV studio. All four years of high school, I had the chance to report the news to my classmates via a morning broadcast of school announcements.

 

Vince Marigna, Age 3
Vince, Age 3

Braven External Affairs Staff: As you know, at Braven we are focused on empowering underrepresented college students with the skills, confidence, networks, and experiences necessary to launch strongly into the modern economy. Along those lines, we want to hear a little bit about your professional journey. Where did you graduate from college and what was your major?

Vince: I went to Evangel University in Springfield, MO and started out as a Biblical Studies major and later switched to English.  

 

Braven External Affairs Staff: If we met college Vince, what would he be doing, and what would he say he would be doing in 2018?

Vince: If you met Vince in college, he was probably at a coffee shop writing and drinking way too much coffee (it was the late ‘90s). Back then he’d say he would be the editor in chief of his own magazine and a regular commentator on 60 minutes.

 

Braven External Affairs Staff: We’re curious — what was your first professional job? What were the best and worst parts about it?

Vince: My first professional job was a teacher. The best part of being a teacher was connecting with my students and helping them develop into young adults. During my time as a teacher, I had the opportunity to teach journalism, which connected my passion for storytelling with my new passion for engaging with young people. The hardest part of being a teacher was not being able to reach all of my students. I had not yet honed my skills enough to meet all of my students’ needs.

 

Vince Marigna and his colleague during his first year teaching
Vince and his colleague during his first year teaching

Braven External Affairs Staff: Before coming to Braven this summer, where had you spent the majority of your professional career?

Vince: The majority of my career has been in K-12 education, with 10 of those years with the charter school network KIPP: New Jersey. During my 10 years at KIPP, I helped the organization grown from two schools in 2007 to 12 in 2016 in two different cities.

 

Braven External Affairs Staff: Who have been your role models or mentors? What about them do you admire? What did you learn from them?

Vince: My first role model was a woman named Angie Ballas. In high school, I worked the clothing store American Eagle, and Angie taught me the basics of influence, leadership and management. She was very thoughtful about how she trained me and would share ongoing feedback and really knew how to keep me motivated. At the age of 17, she promoted me to a junior management role. In that role, I learned a lot about the importance of goals and influencing others to work toward achieving them.

 

Braven External Affairs Staff: What in your career has brought or given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment? Looking back, what would you have done differently? What would you do again?

Vince: The greatest fulfillment has come from being a teacher in the community where I still work almost 15 years later. I have maintained relationships with many of my students and it’s so great to see them grow into incredible adults. Looking back, I would have taken more risks within my career.

 

Braven External Affairs Staff: You recently started in your role as Executive Director of Braven – Newark, a community of over 400 Fellows, Post-Accelerator Fellows, and Alumni. As you take on the Executive Director role, what are you most looking forward to?

Vince: I am looking forward to having our current Fellows serve as Leadership Coaches and door openers for future Fellows. I am looking forward to seeing more students of color and first-generation college students in the c-suites at not only corporations but also within the non-profit sector. 

 

Braven-Newark Team: Dennis Ng, Alina Yang, Lissete Estrada, Vince Marigna
Braven-Newark Team: Dennis Ng, Alina Yang, Lissete Estrada, Vince Marigna

Braven External Affairs Staff: What has surprised you in this role in the last month?

Vince: Just how much privilege can advantage someone throughout his or her whole life. I mean I know that it played a role, I just didn’t know the extent of it (Brookings Institute study).  I feel very proud to be part of an organization that is dissecting privilege.

 

Braven External Affairs Staff: Last, we’d love to know if  there a quote, motto, or saying that really speaks to you and your outlook on life?

Vince: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This quote keeps me grounded. It reminds me that there is something greater at work, regardless of what may be on the surface. I do believe that through inspired action we can all play a role in bringing justice forth.

Martin Luther King Jr. and quote "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."