Cara Hayward ’08 hasn’t yet celebrated her 30th birthday, but she’s already a leader when it comes to supporting UNH. The director of business development for a start-up company, Hayward gives generously of her time as a mentor for current students and faithfully supports the UNH annual fund, knowing what a difference she is helping to make.
The Acton, Mass., native chose UNH for college because she wanted a school with a great business program, and she took advantage of a wide range of opportunities over her four years in Durham, from courses in entrepreneurship to real-world internships with Lehman Brothers and Pax World Mutual Funds. After graduating summa cum laude with a business administration degree and a concentration in entrepreneurial venture capital, she earned a coveted investment banking position with Lehman Brothers in New York City. From there, she quickly moved into an executive-track career at Barclays Capital, where she climbed the ranks to vice president in five years.
“UNH prepares graduates for their careers tremendously well,” she says. “The opportunities I had as a student made moving into the intense world of business in Manhattan much easier.”
Now based in Austin, Texas, Hayward is thousands of miles away from UNH, but her connections to the university remain strong. “When I mentor UNH students today, I tell them, ‘keep your network strong, help those who help you, put in the work and take advantage of all the amazing resources at UNH. ’ The classes end, but the community remains.”
For Hayward, supporting the annual fund is an important part of that sense of community involvement. She started giving back just as soon as she graduated, knowing that even the smallest gift can make a difference. “Giving is less about the dollar amount and more about knowing that you are making a commitment to stay connected to the university, helping other students like yourself succeed and keeping UNH at the forefront of your mind,” she says. “Alumni must give back so today’s students can have the same opportunities we did. UNH had such an impact on my life, personally and professionally, that I’ll always do what I can to repay the favor.”
Her classes may have only lasted four years, but Hayward sees college as a lifelong experience. “I hope everyone who’s lucky enough to attend UNH sees it that way,” she says.