Meet BB Alum Maya Benson

Posted by knetzler on Jul 30, 2019

Our newest BRIDGES staffer, donor relations specialist Maya Benson, is a Bridge Builder alum and a 2015 graduate of White Station High School. Maya double-majored in international studies and German and earned a minor in nonprofit management at the University of Memphis, and we are so excited to welcome her back to BRIDGES!

How did your experience as a Bridge Builder influence your path after high school?

Bridge Builders kind of threw me for a loop, experiencing other places in Memphis I had never been and meeting other people who were completely different for me. It definitely helped shape me to focus on leadership and communication. I wanted to know more about the world and people and cultures that are different from me.

In college I took a human rights class, and that made me realize that maybe I didn’t want to work in D.C. with a bunch of high-powered lawyers and stuff, but I definitely want to do good, working with people right here in Memphis.

What do you bring to the BRIDGES family?

I think it helps that I’m an alumna and a recent graduate—that’s an important perspective. Plus, I bring a spunky attitude!

But I hope the focus I bring to the team is all about the people. I want to make sure BRIDGES’ donors are really connected to the work they help support, and make sure they know just how important they are. None of this work would be possible without them, and I want to make sure they know how their commitment to supporting Bridge Builders youth is helping to change Memphis for the better.

Tell us one surprising thing about you that people might not know when first meeting you.

I’m half German! My mom is German, and my dad is a civilian nurse; they met when he was stationed in Germany in the 1990s. So I’m a dual citizen, and I lived there for elementary school.

I think that also helped shape my interest in different cultures. You’re definitely a product of your environment, and it’s easy to get cut off from other places, intentionally or not. But I think, between living overseas and being a dual citizen and going through Bridge Builders—all those experiences helped me realize more that there’s so much more to the world than what I see and experience, and I have so much to absorb and learn!