Chat with... Rachel Dewey, executive director at Future 5
DARIEN — Rachel Dewey described her new role as executive director of Future 5 as somewhat of a dream job.
“I like feeling good about coming to work everyday and working with wonderful young people,” said the 20-year Darien resident.
A graduate of Georgetown University, she received her MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Before entering her new role at Future 5, she was executive director of Horizons at Norwalk Community College, an enrichment program for low-income Norwalk students. Her passion to help kids played a role in her career shift after college.
“I started my career in commercial real estate,” Dewey said. “I got to the point in my life where I could choose my options.”
At Future 5 she will be able to continue her passion. The nonprofit, founded in 2009, serves as an after-school program for low-income high school students in Stamford. Dewey said her connection to the group came through a friend who knew of her goals.
“I had a friend call me up and tell me she knew my dream job and I had to go talk to these people,” she recalled.
At first Dewey declined, saying she wasn’t looking for a job at the time. However, her friend remained persistent and a week later pushed her to reach out to Future 5.
“One thing led to another and it really turned out to be my dream job,” Dewey said. “A lot of the work they were doing with high school students and students at NCC and UConn Stamford were of interest to me.”
Dewey said her previous time with the Horizons programs in Connecticut — a network of free academic and enrichment programs for children in underserved communities — helped to give her a broad experience in working with nonprofits.
“It taught me about a lot of different pieces of the puzzle in terms of young nonprofits and managing them,” Dewey said. “I’m in the perfect place at Future 5 to draw from these experiences.”
Dewey took over as executive director in August and said she is tasked with making sure the nonprofit is headed in the right direction. Also, she is charged with ensuring her staff has the proper resources to work with students in the most productive way.
As Future 5 approaches it’s 10th anniversary next year, Dewey said older students have helped to grow the program, which has reached more than 500 children in the past decade.
“We have younger siblings of some of our older students,” Dewey said. “They send their younger siblings here or cousins.”
Occasionally the organization makes appearances at schools to make their presence known. Additionally, knowledge of the nonprofit has spread through word of mouth, she said.
“Kids just seem to find us,” Dewey added.
As she settles into her new role, Dewey said Future 5 is beginning a strategic planning process to focus on the organization’s long-term plans.
“I’m looking forward to leading that process,” she said. “That’s work I really like to do.”
The group began its anniversary celebrations with a luncheon last month at Stamford Yacht Club attended by Future 5 founding members and alumni. Dewey said she was able to hear the stories of Future 5’s start and how it grew over the years. Something that stood out to her was how many alumni returned.
“One of the things said is, ‘Future 5 always has your back.’ Once you’re part of our community, you’re always part of our community,” Dewey said. “In just a short period of time I’ve seen that over and over. It’s a really lovely thing to see.”