Patricia Roe

Patricia Roe

Vice President, Philanthropy

Strada Education Network

Indianapolis, IN USA

Knowing what you don’t want to do is just as important as knowing what you do want to do.


By Roadtrip Nation

Patricia Roe


My road in life took a while to figure out.
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana.
I was a very good student in high school and graduated as salutatorian of my class—as a result, I got a full scholarship to college, which was unheard of at the time for an African-American woman.
Attended Indiana University Bloomington, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in business administration and management with minors in accounting and marketing.
While I was in college, I worked in the General Electric factory for a short time—this experience inspired me to finish my degree because I realized I didn’t want to continue working in a factory.
After graduating, I struggled to find work and had to move back in with my mother for about a year before I found a job.
A friend encouraged me to apply for a job at USA Funds, where I began working in customer service and later transitioned into a role in human resources.
In 2000, my husband died of cancer, which forced me to reevaluate my work-life balance—I decided to start working in a role in philanthropy that gave me more flexibility.
For the last 40 years, I’ve watched USA Funds grow into Strada Education Network, where I’m now the vice president of philanthropy, focusing on postsecondary student success.
Keep following my journey


Vice President, Philanthropy

I seek out grants in support of employer engagement and workforce development initiatives.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Non-Profit Organizations
Helping People

Day to Day

My day to day work involves talking with our client base, who are our grantees, for the purpose of analyzing grants and talking to them about what our strategy is for grant making. On an average day, I can talk and meet with upwards of 30 people, about all different aspects of our grant work. The basics of my job involve giving away money to organizations and programs that are doing the most impact for students.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Volunteer and get involved! Ask a lot of questions and learn as much as you can. If you find something that you are interested in, do your research and reach out to people who can mentor you.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:


The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"Accountants are just number crunchers."

Challenges I Overcame

Changed Major
Death and Loss
Gender and Racial Discrimination