Jacqueline Klamer '08
Background Information and Current Activities
Jacqueline Klamer currently works as the Partnership Operations Manager for Partners Worldwide, a business development organization based in Grand Rapids, MI. Her job involves resource and project management, data analysis, and developing annual strategic planning and other tools to equip global staff members in the field. She also writes key content and stories utilized by the marketing team.
In 2008, Jacqueline graduated from Calvin with a double major in English and International Development Studies. While attending Calvin, she went on the Honduras international development semester and there discovered the value of business in development, especially when she stayed in rural Honduras that summer for an internship in loan distribution.
During her final year at Calvin, she interned as a writer with Partners Worldwide, and immediately after graduating, spent a year with Partners Worldwide in Port-au-Prince, Haiti where she offered support to networks of small and medium enterprises in organizational development and marketing. That opportunity quickly evolved into a fulltime position at the U.S. office of Partners Worldwide, and she’s been working with the organization ever since.
Jacqueline is currently working on a book with a Haitian colleague, Harmless Aid: Opportunity-Based Economic Development (projected title), in order to promote nondestructive aid in the economic development field by realigning development efforts of non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses in the existing structure of global market-based economies. Through this, as well as her position, Jacqueline has been able to connect her writing skills with her passion for sustainable economic development.
What activities were you involved with at Calvin that prepared you to enter the development workforce?
My experience as a student encompassed a wide array of jobs and internships including: tutoring graduate and undergrad students in ESL, offering research assistance in the library, and writing for Calvin’s marketing department. I was also involved with Social Justice Coalition and held a Jubilee Fellows position for a summer in Seattle in community development. In one way or another, each position offered great exposure as I discovered my unique skills and passions.
After my semester abroad, I stayed in Honduras for the summer and did an internship with a microfinance organization, Diaconia Nacional. Seeing how some business owners’ needs were no longer met by microfinance, that summer in Honduras was the first time I heard of Partners Worldwide. They partner with local business organizations to offer business training, mentoring, and larger capital loans tailored to the more small and medium enterprises.
Taking what I learned to heart was also important. For one IDS course, “Don’t Be Afraid Gringo” by Honduran activist Elvia Alvarado, challenged me to recognize and develop particular skills—for me, in writing—not to speak on behalf of other people, but to speak with other people and help them tell their own story.
What path have you followed since then?
These five years since graduating have also been a tremendous and rewarding opportunity to follow a calling with the global team of Partners Worldwide, through which I’ve been able to enhance skills in areas like management, resource development, data analysis and strategic planning, in addition to the writing elements of my job. Location wise, after initially living in Haiti for one year, I moved back to the U.S. Just a few months later, Haiti had an earthquake in 2010, and I traveled there almost immediately as a journalist and photographer for Partners Worldwide to tell unheard stories, then again to coordinate a conference, a year later to consult a documentary film, and most recently to research the book, all related directly to the business sector of Haiti.
What advice would you give to current Calvin development students?
- My advice is to pursue an additional major or minor, whether in business, international relations, social work, engineering, pre-med, economics—wherever your passions may lie! A master’s degree is also a great step at the appropriate time to build skills and expertise.
- Innovating with others is only possible when there are diverse perspectives and mutual respect. Dialogue with professors, mentors, practitioners, and alumni. Develop a perspective that recognizes and respects other perspectives—culturally, theoretically, strategically.
- Test the waters! Dive into the diverse opportunities that come your way. For me, some of the best resources available at Calvin were the Career Development Office, the jobs, and internships I had both in the U.S. and abroad.
Most importantly, do not be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6). Simply be faithful to Christ, practice and discover what God has created you to do, and live out his calling for you one day at a time!