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Corie Walsh was only 11-years old when she decided she wanted to become an aid worker.  Flash forward a dozen years, and today she’s much closer to achieving her dream.  But when she was still in high school, Corie thought her professional aspirations were unraveling. She was rejected from 9 of the 12 colleges to which she applied.  One of them included her top school — Georgetown University.  Instead, Corie ended up going to Colorado State where she worked her butt off her freshman year and got a 4.0 which she used to transfer to the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill as a sophomore.  While at UNC Corie continued to work her butt off and double majored in Peace, War and Defense as well as Global Studies.  After she graduated in 2016 (not 2015, as I say in the recorded open) Corie sent out applications to 65 different organizations in her quest to secure an entry-level job or internship.  That’s right sixty-five emails which she organized in a color-coded spreadsheet so she could keep track of where she’d already applied, and when necessary follow up.  Fortunately for me, one of the places she applied for an unpaid internship was the global humanitarian and development organization, Mercy Corps, where I worked at the time.  I wanted to feature Corie because even in her politeness, eloquence and modesty, she’s a total badass 20-something!  Today Corie is an Assistant Program Officer (APO)* at Mercy Corps where she works on the Program, Performance & Quality team. In her job, Walsh juggles program management, monitoring and evaluating data management and ensuring a gender ‘lens’ is integrated into Mercy Corps’ programs around the world. She is also responsible for helping Mercy Corps to adapt and improve its programming and travels abroad fairly regularly to visit country teams in the field.  

* Corie is now the Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Procurement Advisor at Mercy Corps.


  • How speaking foreign languages can be your trump card to landing a “field” job in international development (7:38)
  • The daily responsibilities of an APO on the Program, Performance and Quality team at Mercy Corps (13:50)
  • Why failing to get into your top college choices can actually become the fuel for your future success (22:12)
  • How to get comfortable with failure and why that’s so important (33:02)
  • How to break into a leading international NGO through an internship or other entry-level position (33:46)
  • How to tap into your anger to find your professional passion (40:39)
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