December 13, 2019 • By Sydney Charles
Wendy Arciero, MBA’ 01, never pictured herself managing community relations and outreach for an iconic team in a major sports league. But long before she became director of community relations for the Anaheim Ducks and the Honda Center, she knew she wanted to give back to her community.
After receiving her undergraduate degrees in math and science from UC San Diego, she felt drawn to non-profit work but wanted a broader business education.
“I figured, to work in a non-profit organization, you need to be able to fundraise your budget every single year,” she said. “You need to know what’s going on in the world, especially in business, and you needed to understand how the changing economy impacts donations.”
During her time at The Paul Merage School of Business, her interest in non-profits helped her stand out. She was president of Challenge for Charity, a business school competition between west coast business schools that focuses on charitable activities.
She explained, “We raised money for a couple of nonprofits here locally and volunteered with them as well.”
This, along with the lasting friendships she formed during her education, was the highlight of Arciero’s time at the Merage School.
“The relationships you build with your classmates will carry you far both personally and professionally. You will continue to network with the people in your class and other alumni,” she said.
Networking with alumni is exactly how Arciero found her dream job and the career she’s enjoyed for the past two decades. During her first year as an MBA student she started working in the external affairs department at the Merage School. She assisted staff with alumni relations and fundraising. Her manager was connected to the Samueli Foundation, which was newly formed at the time. The foundation was looking for an intern and Arciero was quickly recommended for the job.
Arciero interned with the Samueli Foundation during her second year at the Merage School, and after she graduated, they offered her a full-time job. Once the Samuelis purchased the Anaheim Ducks in 2005, Arciero moved from their family foundation to the Ducks in order to oversee all charitable activities.
As director of community relations, Arciero manages all philanthropic initiatives related to the hockey team and arena. This includes the Anaheim Ducks Foundation, which fundraises and runs numerous different educational programs, such as The Anaheim Ducks Learn to Play and The Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. program, aimed at helping the community. They also donate grants to various nonprofits in and around Orange County.
She admitted her journey, although very inspiring, was rather unexpected.
She said, “It was about being in the right place at the right time and being open to something that wasn’t in my plans. I didn’t know what was going to happen and now it’s my fifteenth hockey season.”
When asked for advice for her fellow anteaters, Arciero explained that there are many skills she learned at the Merage School that she still uses in her everyday life as a business manager.
“I think that there’s so much you can learn both inside and outside the classroom,” she said.
“Intangible skills like communication, team building and working in groups are as important as the knowledge you gain in a lecture or from a book.”