2022 SIIF Fellow Stories: Brooke Tighe & The National Park Service/Purposeful Growth Institute
By Brooke Tighe, 2022 SIIF Fellow, MBA 2023
This summer, I joined the National Park Service as a Business Consultant at Great Smoky Mountains National Park and supported a fiscal sustainability project. The park was in the process of requesting approval to charge a new parking fee and increase its existing camping fees. If approved, the park anticipated upwards of $10M in annual fee revenue. With such a huge potential influx in fee revenue, the park wanted to ensure it had an efficient and effective way to plan for the annual spending of fee revenue — that’s where my co-consultant and I came in. Together, we developed a budgeting toolkit for the park — a set of tools the park could utilize to prioritize its spending of fee revenue in a manner that is legally compliant and aligned to key park priorities.
I enjoyed my project work, but even more so, I enjoyed experiencing public sector work firsthand. National Park Service employees like to say they are “in the forever business.” I had the privilege of witnessing that mentality firsthand. By getting out into the field — experiencing electro-fishing, bear management, trail maintenance, programming, and more — I met incredibly passionate and mission-driven park employees. I learned about public stewardship and thinking of the “forever” impact, rather than just the long-term impact.
In addition to interning with the National Park Service, I also participated in a Social Impact Fellowship through Purposeful Growth Institute (PGI), a non-profit who strives to develop mission-driven leaders. The Fellowship consisted of weekly professional development sessions, biweekly case studies, and independent thought exercises. Through this experience, I learned not only about mission-driven businesses, the spectrum of impact, and frameworks to enact positive social change, but also about myself and what purpose means to me. I am excited to take these learnings back with me leading into my second year and let them guide my career for years to come.
Both working for the National Park Service and participating in PGI’s Social Impact Fellowship were unforgettable experiences. I will forever be grateful to the Global Sustainability Leadership Institute and the SIIF for making this summer possible!