Alumnus Shares Career Advice

COS Shining Knight – H. Eugene Dooley, ‘73


Gene Dooley, ’73, has utilized his UCF sociology degree to build an impressive career in non-profit management. Gene Final Photo

“The value of a sociology degree is in training students to remove their bias and learn how people work and live together,” he said.

Dooley knows first-hand how crucial it is to understand people before leading or managing them. He has over 40 years of experience and a proven track record for growth and development, all of which has been spent working with the YMCA.

“I basically hold people accountable,” he explained. “I move them along a positive continuum.”

His expertise worked well for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, which began in 1987 when the non-profit had an operating budget of $3.1 million dollars. When Dooley retired in August 2010, the annual operating budget was $47 million and the YMCA had expanded to include 19 membership facilities across ten counties in both Missouri and Kansas, five early learning centers, 98 before and after school program sites serving six school districts, six Head Start centers, 92,321 members and 347,000 program participants.

“I hired a great staff,” Dooley said when explaining how he has been so successful. “Nothing beats a great staff.”

After his lifetime of service to the YMCA, Dooley decided to return to Florida to retire, and utilize his experience to mentor and advise non-profits. He quickly found several clients and started his own consulting firm, H. Eugene Dooley & Associates, LLC., which provides specialized executive coaching in leadership development, strategic alliance analysis and development, operational alignment, succession planning, and transitional leadership planning and assisting with community collaborations and management agreements.

“People sit down and think about what they want, but they don’t plan,” he said. “That is where I come in.”

Dooley helps people, corporations and boards of non-profits plan for the future they desire by applying his training and expertise as a Certified Executive Coach. He has convened a rich and diverse network of associates in areas such as architectural design, construction cost analysis, facility assessment, construction owner representation, leadership development, membership development and keynote speaking, to fully serve the needs of his clients. While his consulting firm is based out of Orlando, Dooley travels across the country to meet the demands of his clients.

His advice for recent graduates and alumni thinking about a career change is simple, “You can’t go work with Ford when you drive a Chevy,” Dooley said. “Do your research, interview the company as much as they interview you and see if there is something there that matches your personal mission.”



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