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It’s About Being More Empathetic And Human, Not The Money, Says Linda Youngentob

Linda Youngentob has a clear vision: that the future of Montgomery County’s economy depends on Montgomery College’s diverse population achieving economic independence. She firmly believes professors play a key role in this for so many students, especially those who don’t have support at home or may be the first in their families to graduate from college.

Linda Youngentob (right) and one of her students

“It’s such a privilege and a gift to be able to work here,” said Youngentob, who felt called to leave a lucrative career in the private sector to teach at MC in 2007. She considers her 12 years as a business professor at the College the best job she has ever had. “I believe that I am not only here to teach but also to support, and I do it not only because it’s the right thing to do but because it’s imperative for the future of our county to get these students employed.”

In 2018, she received Montgomery County’s honor of Philanthropist of the Year. She is a Brown University graduate and Harvard MBA who has served on the boards of directors for countless nonprofits. She is a revered professor in the Macklin Business Institute, a board member of the Montgomery College Foundation, and co-chair of the capital campaign. However, Youngentob is far less interested in speaking about her own accomplishments than she is about discussing the ways in which all Montgomery College professors can use their role to make a difference in the lives of their students, and, in turn, make a greater impact on Montgomery County’s economy and community.

“The way that we can have impact is to give them support and steer them to the right resources…or teach them soft skills that have made us [as teachers] be successful, things that may not fit into our textbooks,” Youngentob said.  She is quick to point out that impact can, and should, be made one person at a time. And her students prove that she is a walking testament to this philosophy.

The way that we can have impact is to give them support and steer them to the right resources…or teach them soft skills that have made us [as teachers] be successful

For Ian Nathan, the Macklin Business Institute was always his “dream place.” When we was a senior in high school, though, he was overwhelmed by the college application process and had no one to help him. As a mentor through College Tracks, one of the many nonprofits she volunteers with, Youngentob walked Nathan through every step of the college application process and advocated for him to apply to Macklin. Two years later, Nathan is now in his dream place, and his former mentor, Youngentob, is now his teacher.

“No matter how busy she is, she always makes time for her students and always wants what’s best for them,” said Nathan, noting how Youngentob answers every student call, text, and email message — even taking time on her holiday breaks to come in and help MC students with whatever they need.

Youngentob (right)

Youngentob’s unwavering service to her students has touched so many. “She does not get paid for the extra time she gives us; she does it because she genuinely loves her students,” said Silvia Carvjal, one of Youngentob’s Macklin advisees. “It’s nice knowing there is someone like her out there who is genuinely trying to help students who don’t really have the support at home or anywhere else.”

For Youngentob, it’s a no-brainer. This Philanthropist of the Year sees philanthropy in a nuanced way that is less about money and more about “learning and making us better people, more empathetic and more human.” Right now her most important philanthropic mission is ensuring that every MC student who wants an associate’s degree achieves one.

“Every professor’s goal should be that everyone in every class that they teach who wants a completion achieves it,” said Youngentob, definitively. “Wouldn’t that be a beautiful thing?”

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