Staff spotlight - Colleen Maguire, Financial Analyst

Colleen Maguire, Financial AnalystColleen Maguire has boundless energy. As a Facilities Financial Analyst, like many of us, she has been working from home since March due to the pandemic. During that time, she’s balanced work and caring for three teenagers. Always upbeat, she devised fun games to keep everyone in good spirits, started raising chickens, and spent weekends learning to paddleboard. Closing in on her fifth anniversary at Yale, she has since received a job promotion, a college scholarship from Yale University Women’s Organization, and attended a life-changing lecture.

The second of five siblings, Colleen, was born in Thailand where her father, a now-retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, was stationed at the time. Colleen’s family eventually settled in New Jersey, living on a military base. After high school, she started college. Unsure what career path to follow she didn’t finish. While at school, she met and married her now ex-husband, and they moved to Connecticut. Since 1997, she has raised three kids here. Her son is at Drexel University, and her two daughters are in high school. Before Yale, she was a paralegal at a local family law firm.

At Yale, Colleen works on capital projects from a financial aspect. Working closely with project managers, she supports account setups, payments, and has an intimate understanding of the many financial aspects of a campus building project. She was part of the team that implemeted an electronic invoice submissions platform for facilities capital projects and is regularly tasked with gathering data on large building projects. Colleen works on many of the accounting details for capital projects through their many different phases and finds her job fascinating.

Determined to finish her degree, Colleen is enrolled at the University of Southern New Hamphire, majoring in Business Administration in Accounting, and will graduate this spring.

What was your first job?

During high school, I was a waitress at a local pizza parlor. That job started a long career in the restaurant industry, including time as a hostess, bartender, manager, and banquet planner. As I got older and had kids, I realized it was not ideal for my lifestyle. I learned how to prioritize tasks, deal with difficult people, and high-pressure situations. There is much to be learned from a service-industry job. I think everyone should have one at some point in their lives; you get a level of experience when forced to deal with the public. It’s a real character builder.

Best advice you received and from whom?

This is combined with one of my favorite memories of Yale. In 2018, I had the opportunity to see Melanie Hobson, the president and co-CEO of Ariel Investments, speak at the School of Management about the importance of financial health and well-being. She was trying to get finance-related classes as part of the standard education curriculum in urban and inner cities. She thinks it is essential to teach kids how to understand finances and protect themselves financially. Also, she talked about how important it is for women to control their financial well-being and not leave it to others. She said, “there is no knight on a white horse coming to save you; you have to save yourself.” I was going through a tough time, and she inspired me to take control and make positive steps to move forward. Six months later, I got a promotion, enrolled in school, and got a scholarship.

Favorite family memory?

I was a stay-at-home mom for ten years. I was lucky to be able to be home with my kids and watch them grow. I can remember simple things like the kids sitting on my lap or playing in the yard in a cardboard box that came with a refrigerator. Now that they are older, I’m reveling in those memories, remembering when a pack of gummy bears solved all their problems!

The hardest thing about working at Yale?

I worked in small businesses for most of my life. Coming here, it wasn’t easy to understand the sheer size of the University. Yale has its own language and jargon. You must learn to navigate parking and where everything is on campus. It took a while before I felt comfortable here, even just walking around campus. Now, when I meet or work with people new to Yale, I try to be mindful of that, answer questions, and be welcoming. Many people have worked here for decades, and I think it’s easy to forget how overwhelming it can be in the beginning.

What advice would you give someone working in Facilities or at Yale or wanting to move up?

There are so many programs and events that are offered to employees. I strongly encourage people to take advantage of something that interests them. There are great speakers, gallery tours, and career development workshops. And they are all free. I always find something valuable to take away from these offerings, and I always meet great people.

What is your dream job?

To me, a dream job is something that is challenging, engaging, and has an opportunity for growth while making some sort of positive contribution to the world. Currently, there are millions of people unemployed, and businesses are closing. I have been able to work from home, keep my family safe, and pay bills. For right now, this is my dream job.

What was your first car, and what happened to it?

It was a 1965 Ford Mustang. It was old and three different colors. I had this idea that I would restore it. I did do some work on it, replaced shocks and breaks. I loved that car, but it had holes in the bottom, and water would come in during rainstorms. Sadly, I sold it, but still, have a copy of the keys to it. To this day, when someone starts a Mustang, I know that sound.