IrishCompass Recruiter Profile: Mary Jo Ogren ‘96

Mary Jo Ogren ’96 earned her bachelor’s degrees in sociology and African American studies from Notre Dame and is now a Director at Graham Allen Partners, a South Bend-based private equity firm specializing in value appreciation through digital transformation. At GAP, Mary Jo oversees human resources, recruiting, and training for the firm and its portfolio companies. Prior to joining GAP in 2009, she spent 13 years as a high school teacher.

Meet Mary Jo on IrishCompass

What is the value of hiring fellow ND alumni? What are some of the distinguishing factors of ND alums?
Graham Allen Partners knows that to be successful, we have to be able to recruit and retain top talent, especially top technical talent. My team and I work hard to make sure that happens. One of our strategies is to utilize the Notre Dame alumni network to meet great candidates. When a candidate is a Notre Dame grad, we can almost certainly assume the following things to be true:

  • They want to give back. At Graham Allen, we partner with entrepreneurs to build transformational companies. We believe that this is a way we can make a difference in the world. We want to build something bigger than ourselves. And we have found this to be true of most ND alumni. ND grads aren't just looking for a paycheck, they are looking for meaningful work that makes a difference. This dedication to serving others is a key part of our culture and one reason why ND alumni fit right in!
  • They have a strong work ethic and aren't afraid to face a challenge head-on.
  • They know how to think critically and solve tough problems.

How does this help Graham Allen Partners? 
Let's face it: recruiting is hard, especially now. Being able to tap into the ND alumni network and meet candidates who we already know are likely to be a fit from a value, work ethic, and intellectual perspective is a huge win. We find that alumni do very well throughout the interview process and have a high offer and acceptance rate. This is important because the sooner we can fill key positions, the better. 

Another way that the ND alumni network benefits Graham Allen has to do with having our headquarters in South Bend. Several of our ND alumni team members have moved back to South Bend to work with us and I know that wanting to “come home to Notre Dame” has been a big driver for many of them. We believe that being located so close to campus is a competitive advantage for us in recruiting.

How has your experience been recruiting fellow ND alums?
Amazing. We have been very lucky to hire really talented ND grads at many of our companies.  Some of them have been with us almost since we started Graham Allen 12 years ago. We have alumni from many different disciplines: finance, accounting, computer science, sociology, data science, and more. 

In your view, what does it take to be successful in this industry?
Our company operates in multiple industries: finance, tech, healthcare, and insurance to name a few. Each of those industries need the very same thing — super talented team members. Our companies can only be successful if we build a great team. I spend pretty much every waking moment thinking about how to find the very best people and then treat them in such a way that they love coming to work.

Do you have any career advice (especially for young alumni who are entering a post-pandemic economy)?
Use the Notre Dame network! If you want to get into a new field or a new company, odds are that a fellow grad works there. Don't be afraid to connect with them and ask for an introduction or just advice. I have never been turned down by a fellow alum. Most really want to help new grads in any way that they can. And if you are a tech superstar looking for an amazing company that shares your values, for sure reach out to me!

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