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Video by Joe O'Neill
Tony Mestres ’92 had 12 years of philanthropic experience to call on when he made a career change from high-tech executive to nonprofit president and CEO. He says his Dickinson education not only gave him the knowledge and skills to succeed across fields, but also the mindset to lead one of the largest community foundations in the nation.
A history major at Dickinson, Mestres launched a career in sales, management, marketing and business development, moving from BellSouth Mobile Enterprises to The Walter Group before finding a home at Microsoft in 1999. He was promoted eight times during his 12-year tenure with the iconic global technology company, ultimately serving as vice president/general manager of Microsoft’s partner and channel marketing. All the while, he also gave back to his community as partner and board member of Social Venture Partners, a 500-member organization that cultivates effective philanthropists, and as board president of Kindering, a nonprofit organization serving children with special needs and their families.
Those philanthropic experiences paved the way for Mestres’ 2014 transition from tech and communications to nonprofit leadership. Mestres is now the president and CEO of the Seattle Foundation, which serves 1,200 families, businesses and nonprofits and oversees the investment of $100 million in charitable grants annually. He also continues to serve on the board of several other nonprofits.
Reflecting on his path so far, Mestres recalls what he learned as a history major and student volunteer that shaped his worldview. “Working with people toward a common end is really, fundamentally, something I learned at Dickinson,” he says. “Dickinson provided me with a deep understanding of the importance of roots and relationships in community.”
Published November 3, 2017