Delivering Safety and Health
Meghan Grady, RWU Class of 2008Alumni
Meghan Grady makes a difference for homebound seniors in Rhode Island every day as the Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island.
At Meals on Wheels, Grady is responsible for fulfilling a mission to meet the nutritional and other special needs of seniors and to help them maintain their independence as they age. The organization runs programming that ensures their clients safety as well as improving their physical and mental health. Grady told us about her experience as a public servant and the ways RWU helped her reach her goals.
What made you know that your area of study was the right one for you?
I have had a lifelong interest in public service that was tremendously heightened during my undergraduate studies. While earning my bachelor’s degree in communications and political science at Merrimack College, I participated in a Washington semester program and worked at the Rhode Island State House. As I began to move further into my career and develop a strategic plan for my professional growth, I knew that pursuing a graduate degree in public administration aligned with my career interests and aspirations.
What kind of real-world work experiences did you have at RWU?
Throughout my program, my peers and I had the opportunity to work together on a wide variety of case studies. Because each of our diverse professional backgrounds brought with them unique viewpoints and skills, we were able to offer each other thoughtful insights and approaches to the work at hand. More than a decade later, I work with and see fellow program alumni on a regular basis. We forged a very special professional connection during our time together at RWU that remains today.
What at RWU prepared you for the position you have now?
Everything! From the coursework that focused on areas that a professional working in the public/nonprofit setting uses on a daily basis to the opportunity to work alongside professionals with diverse backgrounds and interests. Nothing could have better prepared me for my role as a nonprofit executive director.
What are some recent projects you’re working on?
Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island’s home-delivered meal program serves 1,200 older adults each weekday across the state. In 2019, we celebrated our 50th anniversary and delivered our 19th million home-delivered meal in Rhode Island. Rhode Island will be adding 100,000 older adults to its population in the next 10 years, and our organization is focused on modernizing our work, raising more money to support our work and pursuing innovative strategies to ensure we are prepared to meet the growing need.
What do you like about your job?
It is a special experience to get to know the seniors we serve and the volunteers who help us deliver our mission. It is motivating to know that every day, we are making a difference in people’s lives by helping them stay safe, happy and healthy in their homes.
What is an RWU moment you will never forget?
At the hooding ceremony, I was recognized with the John W. Stout Outstanding MPA Student Award. That was an unexpected honor that made me extremely proud to officially be an RWU alumna - and an achievement I will never forget.