Berkeley Today Stories

James Sanford, Berkeley College graduate

Graduate Applies Lessons from Berkeley College to Hoboken Housing Authority



As a Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Hoboken Housing Authority, James Sanford faces many ongoing challenges that plague public housing on a daily basis, such as securing funding and increasing the quality of life for residents. He has applied the lessons he learned while taking classes at Berkeley College in Woodland Park, NJ, as well as interning in its Government Relations and External Affairs department, to his passion for public housing advocacy.

Graduating in 2004 with a B.S. in Accounting, Mr. Sanford credits skills such as financial analysis, budget preparation, negotiation, and management with helping him be a better problem-solver while volunteering at the Hoboken Housing Authority since 2014. He also praises the Berkeley College Government Relations and External Affairs department for the experience he gained during his internship. “The department’s staff were great mentors,” Mr. Sanford said. “They taught me about presentation, professionalism and work ethics.”

Mr. Sanford also took advantage of assistance from Berkeley College’s Career Services department, who helped find him his first paid internship and full time position with ProActive Marketing Group in Upper Saddle River, NJ. Over the years, he has held finance positions with companies like Deutsche Telekom, T-Systems North America Inc., and the United Nations Federal Credit Union. His community service work also includes serving on the executive boards of Rotaract, the Hudson County Young Republicans, and the Hoboken Republican Party.

Up Close with James Sanford

What does success mean to you?
Success means being financially independent and in a position to give back to my community, support my friends, and take care of my family.

What initially inspired you to enroll in Berkeley College?
I was the recipient of the full Alumni Scholarship, but I also chose Berkeley College because of its placement rate and commitment to providing services for post-college job searches.

How did Berkeley College prepare you for success?
Berkeley provided me a diversity of experience, an education, and on-the-job experience. Also, exposure to other groups, such as Rotary International, helped me to build a network of professional contacts.

In which way(s) do you see yourself being successful in the future?
Solving the many challenges of the Hoboken Housing Authority. One challenge is that the funding for public housing continues to decline, which requires Commissioners to become better financial stewards of their housing authorities. Another challenge is meeting the policy and resource demands of the Housing Authority. We are responsible for over 1,300 units and we are the largest landlord in Hoboken. Securing funding and increasing the quality of life are ongoing challenges.

What advice would you offer today’s college-bound students?
Spend frugally, save your money, and get involved in service organizations as well as professional groups. Network, work hard, and develop patience.

What was your most memorable moment at Berkeley College?
Working in the Berkeley College Government Relations and External Affairs department. I was treated with trust and respect, and was given opportunities to represent Berkeley College at official functions.