Faces of the Charles Koch Institute and Foundation

Faces of the Charles Koch Institute and Foundation

What's it like to work at our organization? Find out from our staff and learn about what inspires them.

We are devoted to a vision of a society in which people have the freedom to do extraordinary things, in which individuals are free to choose how to improve their lives while also helping others. Our exceptional staff are essential to bringing this vision to life.

 

Allison Kasic – Associate Director of Research

Allison Kasic is the associate director of research for our market research and investment analysis team and works to develop measures to deepen the understanding of our philanthropic effort and determine our priorities.

What got you interested in working at CKI/F?

I was in the 2007-08 KAP class (working as a policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum) at the recommendation of my best friend, who had done the program the previous year. I loved learning about Market Based Management and was impressed by the Charles Koch Foundation staff that I got to know. When I was finishing graduate school in 2011, the Foundation was at the top of a short list of organizations that I was most excited to work with.

What’s something your friends find surprising about you?

People are usually shocked to know that I was in a sorority in college and am still active in the local alumni association. Being a sports-obsessed economist covered in tattoos doesn’t fit the typical sorority girl stereotype, I suppose. But I love being a Chi Omega.

What’s a story you tell people about your job that people find unusual?

I do a lot of work on our criminal justice portfolio and people are constantly surprised by the wide coalition of scholars and organizations that we work with – progressives to conservatives and everything in between. There is a growing consensus that the justice system is broken and needs reform, so there is no shortage of interesting people to partner with.

What’s your favorite place in the office or its surrounding area?

The pub where I watch soccer on the weekends, Ireland’s Four Courts, is right by the office. Their staff is fantastic and tater tots are on the menu, so it’s a frequent lunch choice for me.


Matthew Goldenberg – Director of Digital Strategy

Matthew Goldenberg is the director of digital strategy for our communications team, leading digital marketing efforts and developing engagement opportunities.

What got you interested in working at CKI/F?

I wasn’t sure I wanted to change jobs. I was happy where I was working and enjoying the stability after many years of freelancing. In my research to prepare for the interviews I began to realize that CKI/F was a highly misunderstood organization. I got intrigued about the idea of joining a team, communications, working to change that perception and engage people with our ideas and principles.

What do you like most about your job?

It’s impossible to get into a rut here. Every day is different; you always have new challenges, new ideas, and new ways to think about things.

What’s one piece of advice you’ve taken to heart from a teacher/parent/grandparent/mentor or other person in your life?

My boss at New York Magazine taught me to develop a rapport with everyone, not just the editors and designers but the salespeople, circulation managers, the accountants (especially them), the employees at the printing plants and other vendors, everybody. I learned that it was important to understand what everybody did and how they fit into the overall picture, not just my part of the process. And that relationships mattered because people had to be able to trust each other.

What was your very first job and what did you learn from it?

Making French fries at Burger Chef on Rockville Pike. Burger Chef is gone, the Pike is still there. I learned that if the red light ever lit up on the deep fryer, everybody run.


Ali Sellazzo – Executive Assistant

Ali Clark is one of our longest-serving executive assistants, working with our leadership team and making sure our teams stay connected.

What got you interested in working at CKI/F?

I started working at CKI as a temp through a staffing agency. It was a really great experience because I was able to learn about what we do by being fully immersed in it. After seeing the day-to-day and learning about the vision, I knew I wanted to stay.

What’s a story you tell people about your job that surprises people?

I think a lot of people, especially folks in admin roles elsewhere, are surprised that we have such a large admin team. We have a little under 20 admins within CKI/F and we’re growing. That’s crazy! It’s so important for our large team to stay connected. There is so much information that travels between teams and even organizations because of the admins!

What are you passionate about outside of work?

We are in the process of renovating our house. Since April, every day after work I go home and put on my fixer-upper hat. A lot of my friends are surprised to find out that I’m really handy when it comes to our home renovation. My fiancé and I have hung new sheetrock, opened up a loadbearing wall, made concrete countertops and installed our new kitchen cabinets. Next stop, backsplash!

What’s one piece of advice you’ve taken to heart?

A good family friend once told me to remember that nothing is permanent. Don’t take life too seriously. If you don’t like the way things are going in your life, change it.


Steve Sweet – Program Officer

The university investments team is constantly looking for professors whose research is likely to have a lasting impact on society. Program officers like Steve Sweet work with universities on highlighting top-tier scholarship.

What got you interested in working at CKI/F?

I was a participant in one of the first higher education pilot grants that CKF made to my alma mater – Grove City College. As a Koch Fellow, I was given the opportunity to work with several professors on research projects and attend various events, including a trip to a conference in DC. That yearlong fellowship really got me excited about the public policy arena and the opportunity to make an impact.

What do you like most about your job?

The opportunities we provide students and faculty, seeing the lives impacted, is what it’s all about.

What’s something your friends find surprising about you?

Everyone is always surprised that I hate cities. I’m a country boy at heart, and I love living in the woods/on a farm. I’m also afraid of flying, which is ironic given the number of flights I’m on each year.

What was your very first job and what did you learn from it?

I worked the night shift in a factory while I was in high school. That taught me the value of a hard day’s work, and the importance of finishing what you start – even when you’re dead tired.

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