Logan Tinder returned to graduate school in search of his career passion. After gaining valuable experience in the mortgage banking industry, he realized his desire to explore other industries in the business landscape. “Working toward my MBA has allowed me to not only further my education, it has provided the opportunity to learn about other organizations and to gain a better perspective of the type of career I want to pursue,” he said.

“It is interesting that over the past two years, the moment I realized what I wanted to do following graduation came while working on my Capstone Project a few months prior to receiving my MBA,” Tinder said. The Richmond MBA’s Capstone Project is the final piece of a student’s graduate studies. Students are paired with a host organization with which they work to address challenges while using the knowledge they have gained throughout the MBA program.

In deciding what organization to work with, most important to Tinder was that the experience be meaningful for him and impactful for the organization. In speaking with Debbie Fisher, associate director of the MBA program, Tinder realized how much he enjoyed volunteering at The Richmond MBA’s annual “JA-In-A-Day” event and would value the opportunity to work more extensively with the organization. Junior Achievement (JA) is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that works with school children of all ages to foster financial literacy and work-readiness skills. “Coming from the banking industry, I met with many clients who lacked the financial knowledge to buy a house, balance a checkbook or apply for a credit card. I became very passionate about JA knowing their mission was to teach young children the understanding of how to do these things and more to become successful adults,” Tinder said.

JA of Central Virginia has impacted thousands of students since 1967, but with only seven full-time staff members and 42 board members, Tinder recognized several needs that if met, could make JA even more successful. “I really dove in, rolled up my sleeves and began meeting with as many people as I could to hear feedback and begin the project,” he said.

Tinder decided to design a three-year strategic plan for the organization, highlighting opportunities to attract more volunteers and grow the organization, enable collaboration and measure performance, among others. “I designed a very comprehensive plan, making sure it was detailed and deliberate enough for JA to know exactly what to do and what to put in place to meet specific goals,” Tinder said. “While change can be intimidating, I made sure all the goals were positive and working toward the organization’s overall mission of increasing the number of impacted students.”

“It was very difficult to immerse myself in JA and develop a large strategic plan in only three months,” Tinder said, “but I knew I was always moving forward. I am excited to look back three years from now and see the plan I created helping to increase financial literacy among students, something I am very passionate about.”

Since completing the project, Tinder has reviewed the plan with Daphne Walker, president of JA of Central Virginia. “I was very impressed with Logan’s work on our strategic plan,” Walker said. “The final product is a very workable three-year strategic plan, with a recommendation about our facility needs. Logan was very thorough in his work and worked very closely with me to ensure the plan was following what we envisioned as a board but had not yet formalized with a document.” 

Simon Hodges, vice president of financial management at Dominion Resources and board member of JA, also reviewed Tinder’s plan. “Logan had obviously done a lot of research on the organization,” Hodges said. “His preparation helped keep the discussion focused on the key issues and the final product is comprehensive and will provide JA and the board a roadmap for decisions and initiatives to advance the organization’s mission in the Richmond community.”

“Being on the front lines teaching children, talking about their futures and seeing their faces when you encourage them to follow their dreams is incredible,” Tinder said. In June he looks forward to presenting his plan to JA’s board members for approval.