Becoming Dillon

By Trish Dillon, GTA Outreach Coordinator

good group 2I began working at Game Theory Academy as the Outreach Coordinator in February 2012. There were only three of us in a small office: Executive Director Trish Johnson, Instructor Michele Thorne, and myself. Although I had experience working in the non-profit sector I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. There I was, an Interior Architecture and Design major working for an organization that taught financial literacy to inner city youth.

Game Theory Academy strikes very close to home for me, being an Oakland native and growing up in a low-income household. A big part of my job as Outreach Coordinator was to bring new participants into our program, and develop an alumni network. I had sort of a rough start (trouble with making phone calls, and dealing with teenage angst).  I received help from a mentor, Sarah Insell, who was so amazing at getting me over the learning hump, and I became more comfortable with my position.

Aside from the six packets I completed my senior year of high school I knew very little about economics. The only time I asked a question about economics at home my mother quoted Ronald Reagan. I sat in on Michele’s class, and a lot of things were put in perspective for me. I realized the financial mistakes I had made when I was younger. I now know how to prevent, and rectify, any mistakes I do make.

Trish has been the most amazing and supportive boss anyone could ask for. Michele is such an inspiration: you see her and think about when you finally become the correct version of yourself you hope you’re as graceful as she is. I’ll also remember meeting someone as humble as Krystal Fortner, exuberant as Dale Wannen, funny as Nick Redfurn, or as sweet as Lisa Morehouse.  Preunky, and Jeremy joined us last year and are great; they both very work hard.  I’ve watched them do a magnificent job for the past year, and I know Jasmin will do a wonderful job as the new Outreach Coordinator.

Building our alumni network has been my favorite part of my job. I appreciated getting to know GTA students and watching them go through life. I’ll even miss the few who nagged me every Tuesday about the food I ordered for our dinner.  Although I would never say this to their faces, I’ve really come to care for my co-workers and the GTA alumni. They gave me something to look forward to, and restored my hope for future generations.

When Trish offered me the job at GTA she asked, “What are we going to call you, since we have the same name?”  I chose to be called Dillon, my last name.  I may have lost the rights to my first name while at GTA, but I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve lived as Dillon. I will never forget what I’ve experienced working here, and how it has helped me grow as a person. I’ve had some really difficult experiences in my life that help me appreciate the good ones.  My two and a half years at GTA have been the best time of my twenty-five years on this planet. I will truly miss everyone, and everything about Game Theory Academy.