ALUMNI PROFILE: Yvonne Delgadillo (MNA '12)

Author: Christine Cox

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Yvonne Delgadillo MNA ’12 has found a new opportunity to serve. And, not surprising, it’s connected to her experience at the Mendoza College of Business and her Master of Nonprofit Administration degree.

In November, Delgadillo joined the leadership team for Allied Argenta, a group of companies in Santa Monica, California, that develops affordable housing for clients with low incomes. One of her primary responsibilities is establishing relationships with nonprofit partners to provide greater resources for underserved communities. She is particularly excited about spearheading the company’s new initiative to create an affordable housing model for adults with developmental disabilities.

“Allied takes a holistic approach to developing affordable housing,” she says. “It’s a great company with a great mission.”

She learned about Allied through one of her classmates in the MNA program, Sukeshi O’Neal MNA ’13. Sukeshi’s husband, Chuck O’Neal ’98 MBA, is one of Allied’s principals and recruited Delgadillo. With two other Domers on the staff, Delgadillo says the influence of Notre Dame permeates the Allied work environment. “We all share the same vision and passion for community development that was fed by our experiences at Notre Dame,” Delgadillo says.

Before joining Allied, Delgadillo worked for the Nogales Community Development Corporation (NCD) for 10 years, most recently as executive director. She credits the MNA program for helping her develop a strategy to land a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Rural Innovation Fund and a $10 million dollar low-income housing tax credit allocation from the Arizona Department of Housing. The tax credit allocation will be used to renovate two historic buildings into low-income housing units for seniors and set in motion a series of other revitalization projects. Delgadillo is still involved in overseeing their completion. 

Following are Delgadillo’s thoughts on her experience at Notre Dame and the MNA program:

Q: Why did you choose Notre Dame for your graduate degree?

A: In terms of the MNA, I truly believe in its slogan, “Servant heart. Business mind.” I think that really defines who I am. My background is business, but I wanted a career where I’m making a difference and giving back.

Q: How do you stay connected to Notre Dame and Mendoza?

A: One of the greatest things about the MNA program is that it fosters an immediate sense of family. The students became very close, and a lot of us stay connected and talk on a regular basis. I try to attend at least one football game a year and if there’s anything I can do to represent Notre Dame and the MNA program, I definitely do that. In Santa Monica, I attended one of the ND Women Connect club meetings and look forward to attending more in the future. The Notre Dame networking environment is always great. Notre Dame will forever be part of my life.

Q: How did your ND graduate business student experience influence your professional experience?

A: It helped me develop a business mindset focused on creating sustainable systems that have sufficient resources to not only continue moving the mission forward, but also to ensure the organization will exist long-term. I think nonprofits have been perceived that whatever money you have goes toward the services you provide. The economic downturn shows this is not enough. Money does not keep coming in so developing a sustainable model is imperative. You need to run a nonprofit like a business to sustain its mission and to be able to provide quality services to your clients.

Q: What is most challenging about your current position? What’s most rewarding?

A: For me it’s been most challenging to learn the details and intricacies of the low-income housing and investment world. It is a complicated program and model to use.  Despite its challenges it is great being part of the Allied team. The team members are very dedicated and it’s been wonderful to learn from them. It is rewarding to contribute to the team by bridging what we do with the community development work of other nonprofits as well as public and private sector entities, ultimately having a positive impact in our communities. It is truly a collaborative process.

Q: What is one of your current goals, either personal or professional?

A: One goal, and it’s personal and professional, is to be able to develop a housing model for adults with developmental disabilities. There is a huge need for this type of housing, and it’s a very emotional project for me and the Allied team. It’s a great opportunity because it combines who I am and what I enjoy doing, including my passion for making a difference and helping those in need.