Patty Alper is president of the Alper Portfolio Group, a marketing and consulting company, and is a board member of both the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and US2020, the White House initiative to build mentorship in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers. She has also been appointed to the corporate committee for Million Women Mentors. Patty’s experiences have led her to roles as a prominent speaker and the author of Teach to Work: How a Mentor, a Mentee, and a Project Can Close the Skills Gap in America. Patty’s 35-year career in business, coupled with two decades of hands-on experience working directly with youth, uniquely qualifies her to understand the growing skills gap from both perspectives: the employers who seek to build a pipeline and hire better-prepared youth for twenty-first century jobs, and the youth who are often ill-equipped or ill-trained to enter the new workforce.
In her book and speaking engagements, Patty describes how Project Based Mentorship® brings together corporate employees, retirees, and businesses as a corps of knowledge practitioners, with the common goal of passing on skills to the next generation. Patty draws on her extensive philanthropic work to bring the business and education sectors together meaningfully, building on the strength of each to close the skills gap. A trustee of the Alper Family Foundation for the last 18 years, Patty’s unique approach to entrepreneurial mentorship has been featured in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post (twice), TIME, and Philanthropy Magazine.
Through her services on the national board of NFTE, Patty’s vision served as the groundwork for the Adopt-a-Class program she founded in 2001. During her years of service at NFTE, she invited countless business leaders to join her in a mentoring capacity, helping teachers across the country inspire and coach entrepreneurship students on their business plans. Shortly after college, Patty spent five years working with incarcerated, runaway, and suicidal youth in Iowa’s Youth Detention System, and she served as a counselor to psychotic adolescents at Chestnut Lodge, a long-term psychiatric hospital in Maryland.
In 1980, Patty was one of the first women in the construction field as cofounder of a multi-million dollar project management company. The company specialized in building corporate headquarter facilities and high-end interiors for large businesses in the DC market. That innovative spark led Patty to another niche, producing and hosting her own radio talk show, For Love or Money, on Infinity broadcasting. Today, the Alper Portfolio Group provides consulting services for the commercial real estate, financial, and non-profit sectors.
Patty holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Theology from Cornell College Iowa, and she has continued masters-level marketing studies at American University. She is married and has two stepchildren, as well as a grandchild. She loves competitive golf, art, theater, and music, and continues her study of theology.
Did you ever consider that by simply showing up, sharing your professional experience, and describing how you overcame bumps along the way, you could inspire a lightbulb moment for a student?