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Cataloguing my battle scars

main.jpgI was getting texts from a married dude in the middle of the night, and not surprisingly, I didn’t even think of going to HR.

I worked for a museum at the time, and the Twin Cities were hosting the major conference for our industry. It was my first full-time professional job, and my museum was hosting an evening event for the conference. During the course of the conference, I met a bunch of people and invited them to our event to be friendly and welcoming. I even gave out my cell number so people could connect and get directions or more information. It didn’t even occur to me that someone would abuse that.

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Collaborating with the enemy

I recmain.jpgently left a job where I got in a lot of arguments. I argued with coworkers over projects we were working on. I argued with myboss over the direction of the organization. I participated in heated arguments with the whole team about our strategy, processes, branding, and messaging. Sometimes the arguments ended with laughter and decisions on how to move forward, and other times they ended with everyone frustrated.

My time there reinforced the fact that collaboration is far easier said than done. People assume that collaboration — or strategy of any kind — means laying out on a plan, and then enacting that plan step-by-step. That kind of agreement is rarely possible, though. Collaborating with diverse groups of people on complex issues requires giving up certainty and control.

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Life's balancing act: When personal and professional lives intersect

Being a mom has emphasized my desire to have the career I want.

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I want a career that is fulfilling, challenging, worthwhile andflexible. I am equal parts motivated to be my best self for my child and to go after what I want. I have a sense of urgency to find what I truly desire more than ever. Let’s just say I had a bad case of “mom guilt” when I came back from maternity leave. I felt crushed that I was spending so much time at work and leaving my child with another person all day. I felt I was going to miss all the big moments and he would surely grow up to resent me.

Then, I shifted my thinking.

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Going forward with purpose: our new strategic plan

While 2017 brought activities and events to the YNPN-TC calendar as usual, a quieter but no less important process took place behind the scenes: strategic planning.

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Too little can feel like too much

I was hoping we could talk abundance. Living abundantly, thinking abundantly, creating abundantly. But I’m finding that we can’t get there if we don’t first address scarcity.

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Truthfully, in my searching there’s just not a whole lot of reference material about abundance that isn’t an afterthought to scarcity (do a google - you’ll find an abundance of scarcity). So I’m here to add my writing to the pile, because it seems that’s just where we’re at right now. In one job I had I worked semi-remotely, connecting to my co-workers all over the country daily over Gchat or Skype. I thought it was awesome. Sending emojis, gifs, or just simple hello’s were all great ways to connect…

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New Year’s Resolutions: From One Young Professional to Another

Working in the nonprofit industry can be an incredibly rewarding experience but, like any job, it can also be incredibly draining. So, with that in mind, I’m committing in 2018 to focusing on my personal health and wellness as well as my professional development and success. And I am, of course, doing this in the most cliche way possible: a list of New Year’s Resolutions which I would like to share with you.

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Ch-ch-ch-changes...to the way we do taxes: How the new tax bill influences the nonprofit sector

Changes are coming our way. The new tax bill influences charitable giving on a fundamental level, which will change the way that we, nonprofit professionals, approach our work. Bear with me - the beginning of this post may seem boring, but it’s important to understand the basics before you can fully comprehend how the new tax plan influences the nonprofit sector.

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A new professional perspective online

We all have a story that led us to our careers – the careers where we feel are our calling.

For me, my calling was journalism – after finding public radio in the middle of the night as a result of insomnia during a major health issue. Yet, changes were unfolding as I graduated. As people consume news in the digital space, revenue has been impacted and jobs are hard to find. The additional competition for jobs made me wonder continuously if I made the right choice to pursue work in this field. I found myself not only uncertain, but seriously discouraged, and frightened.

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In the attempt to make sense of events, I went on social media. Along the way, I was able to connect with friends and colleagues in the industry, and meet new people and get their views on how they see journalism, the media and their work – and see what inspires them. As uncertainty became a constant, so did the search for that perspective and inspiration.

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What you think DOES NOT matter: 5 things your communications staff want to tell you

NOTE: This blog is an expansion of a speech I gave at “5 Minutes in Hell,” YNPN-TC’s annual event for people who want to practice public speaking (my slides are available on Google Drive and a video of the full speech is at the bottom of this post or on YouTube). For those considering submitting a speaking proposal in future years, I highly recommend it! You won’t find a more supportive practice venue.

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There is no one answer to what a communications job looks like, especially when it comes to nonprofits. While large organizations can have entire teams where each person has their own subject area or expertise, small nonprofit organizations often have only one staffer (or part of one) who is responsible for getting the word out about everything the organization does. 

Communicators have all kinds of duties: writing, social media, websites, emails, graphic design, media outreach, among other things. For some organizations, the communications staff is also responsible for development and fundraising, while others house these duties in separate departments.

At our core, however, all communications professionals have the same goals: We want to make sure the people who need our organization’s information get it in ways they understand, and we want to make sure our organization looks good.

These goals can mean that communications professionals care about strange things like fonts and colors and images, and we sometimes say certain words should or should not be used.

In this blog, I am sharing some of the largest “pet peeves” communications professionals have in the hopes that non-communicators can learn and work more effectively with their communications staff, and we can eliminate the communications-programs-development divide.

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Men - Be Better

As nonprofit professionals, many of us love to pat ourselves on the back for doing positive work and putting forth a solid effort. Don’t get me wrong – more often than not, it’s well deserved. We do this incredible work with our nonprofits despite the fact that as a sector, we have considerable room for growth in financially compensating our professionals. That being said, sometimes we are too quick to congratulate ourselves and overlook how we may be contributing to pervasive societal norms.

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This is apparent with the many recent revelations of sexual misconduct perpetrated against women all across the country. While Im hopeful to finally see a growing public awareness of an issue that has existed since the beginning of time, I often find myself unimpressed and concerned by the visceral reactions of many men. Even men who try to say the right thing have a tendency to distance ourselves from the issue, which can elicit harmful effects regardless of our intentions.

Every single person is responsible for helping to rid our communities of all forms of sexual misconduct. No one is excluded from this conversation, and I believe that men must stop distancing ourselves from these issues. Here are four basic pieces of advice that I’m going to assert that all men need to internalize immediately.

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Our mission, vision and values guide all that we do at the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities (YNPN-TC).

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