Graduate Program: Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership Studies (MA)
Anna Bentson ’17 MA has spent her career in the public and nonprofit sectors. First, she was a legislative correspondent — which she describes as “a big title for answering the mail and managing the website” — for a U.S. senator in South Carolina.
She went on to work in communications and public relations for museums and museum service organizations. Eventually, she landed in Lynchburg, thanks in part to her husband, Tom, a 2004 University of Lynchburg graduate who took a job in the University’s advancement office.
In Lynchburg, Bentson worked for the city as executive director of the Downtown Lynchburg Association and then assistant director of the Office of Economic Development and Tourism. When Lynchburg launched its Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership Studies program, she jumped at the chance to continue her education and was a member of its first cohort.
“The University has been a big part of our lives in Lynchburg and I was super interested when the nonprofit leadership program started, as it aligned well with my career,” she said. “Now we’re a family of Hornets!”
In 2023, Bentson was named the city’s director of communications and public engagement. There, she leads a team of media and marketing professionals, “creating and administering the city communication plan to promote city initiatives, foster a culture of engagement, and ensure a unified city message.”
In her work, she gets to see people she knows from the University on the regular.
“One of the best things to come from my experience in this program are the connections with other leaders and professionals in the community,” she said.
“I see my friends — teachers, students, and guests of the program — in various leadership roles around the region and they have enriched my personal experience and relationships throughout the city.”