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Meet some of our members!

YNPN-TC is all about providing opportunities for the development of young nonprofit professionals! During January, we will be putting the spotlight on just a few of our extraordinary members. Each day meet a new member and learn how YNPN has made a difference in their careers!

Become a member here!


Xavier

YNPN-TC Status: Has been a member for 3-4 months and is now a new board member

Career: Alumni Program Coordinator, Boulder Options

Why did you join YNPN-TC?

Honestly, it was because my coworkers were joining the peer mentoring event and they invited me to do it. I did and I loved it! Now I'm part of the board so that says it all.

Why should people join YNPN-TC now?

We make sure all your needs are covered. From expanding your network and grow professionally, to "just for fun", there is always reason to join.

What advice would you have for other young nonprofit professionals?

Find your passion in life and go for it. How do you know? If you have a very overwhelming day at work and you can still end your day with an "I love what I do".

What is your favorite networking strategy?

Build rapport. When someone connects with you, it is a lot easier for them to commit to something. Having events at breweries and distilleries is never a bad idea.


Robin

Name: Robin Stramp

Organization / title: Development & Communications Coordinator, St. Stephen's Human Services

How long have been in the nonprofit sector?

I celebrated my five-year nonprofit birthday this fall. I served at a nonprofit through Lutheran Volunteer Corps straight out of college, and have been in the sector ever since.

Why did you join YNPN-TC?

In my first nonprofit role (in another state), I worked out of the country's largest multi-tenant nonprofit center. With 70 other nonprofits in our building, it was so easy to meet others in my field! It turns out that most workplaces aren't like that, so I joined YNPN-TC to connect with other nonprofit professionals facing similar challenges, opportunities, and crossroads so we can navigate them together.

How long have you been involved?

I've been a YNPN-TC member since I moved back to the Twin Cities in 2017. In 2018 I became a volunteer as a co-moderator of the new YNPN Facebook Group, and in 2019 I became a monthly donor because YNPN adds value to my professional life and my well-being.

What advice do you have for other young nonprofit professionals?

Believe in yourself, trust your gut, and say yes to opportunities.

Why should people join YNPN-TC now?

It's free to join, and there's something for everyone. I joined YNPN-TC to meet other people, but what I have done the most is learn! Through Leadership Breakfasts and monthly educational events, YNPN-TC members have access to a treasure trove of learning opportunities. Plus, there are sometimes opportunities for discounted conference rates! In 2017 I was able to attend the MCN Annual Conference for one-quarter of the price because I earned a scholarship through YNPN-TC.

Favorite career memory?

When Minneapolis hosted the Final Four last spring, road closures and traffic left one of our emergency shelters without volunteer groups to serve the evening meal for several days in a row. My team members and I were tasked with raising $600 on Facebook to cover the costs of those meals. We walked around our office, recruiting help in brainstorming a LONG list of basketball/fundraising puns, and then decided how many we could meaningfully fit into one Facebook ask (six, it turns out). It's one of my favorite memories because it was a lot of fun, because I could feel the way that inviting colleagues into the fundraising process increased their investment in the outcome, and because exceeding our goal had an immediate and positive impact on the people that we serve.


Audra

Name: Audra 

YNPN-TC Status: I have been involved for about 6 months now!

Career: Campus Representative for HECUA!

Why did you join YNPN-TC?

I joined YNPN because I wanted to connect and engage with other people who are as passionate about non-profit organizations as I am! I also wanted to learn more about other organizations in the Twin Cities and how our work can intersect.

Why should people join YNPN-TC now?

There is no reason not to! YNPN has great events and programming and besides being a great form of professional development, it is really fun to meet other people who work in nonprofits!

What advice would you have for other young nonprofit professionals?

Definitely join YNPN first! Then after that, I highly recommend connecting with other people who work in the field. Meeting folks for coffee is a great way to learn more about potential job opportunities and what a typical day looks like for people who work in this diverse field!

What is your favorite networking strategy?

When I meet someone I love asking, "Who else do you think I should be talking to?". It is a great way to get introduced to more people and set you on the track for success.


Cole

Name: Cole St. Arnold

YNPN-TC Status: Member / Board Member since 2015 

Career: Community Development Manager 

Why did you join YNPN-TC?

I was new to the Twin Cities and having been previously involved in chapters in Denver and Phoenix, I knew that YNPN-TC would be a sure fire way to be connected to the young folks working in the nonprofit sector.

Why should people join YNPN-TC now?

The networking events and personal developments workshops allow for the kind of training that might not be readily available at your organization. Taking advantage of these allows you as a member to fully work on progressing your career. Also, friends! I've gained a lot of friends from YNPN-TC and think it's a great way of expanding your own personal circle of cool folks.

What advice would you have for other young nonprofit professionals?

The nonprofit sector in the Twin Cities is much MUCH smaller than you think it is and that's a good thing. That means it's easier to know more folks within the community and build a supportive network that you can lean on in your career. Whether you're working in communications, development, program management, are a frontline worker, back of the house, running the organization, or what have you, it's vital to know who else is in the sector that you can talk to and rely on for help.

What is your favorite networking strategy?

Coffee meet ups! It's a great way to connect with other members outside of events and ensure that you can continue to develop your network deliberately.


Sarah

Name: Sarah Fowler

Organization / title: AdoptAClassroom.org/Account Manager 

How long have been in the nonprofit sector?

My entire career, including before I graduated from college. Post college graduation, it's been almost 8 years. 

Why did you join YNPN-TC?

To connect to other professionals in the sector for networking, to make new friends, and to learn from my peers. I like that YNPN is specific to the nonprofit sector. I'm also a member of other young professionals groups, but I don't always find the content or topics of conversation within those groups relevant to my specific experiences or career goals as a nonprofit professional. YNPN offers a safe place to talk honestly and specifically about nonprofit life, and the members are easier for me to relate to when compared to other groups I've participated in or joined. =

How long have you been involved? 

Since Oct. 2017 when I joined.

What advice do you have for other young nonprofit professionals?

To keep an open mind and try new things when you have the opportunity. If there's something you want to do, but don't feel you have the required experience or expertise, start by volunteering at another organization, or join a board to gain the skills and knowledge you need or want to learn. I've served on two boards and volunteered with several organizations (and still do) and have learned a lot and advanced in my career by doing so.

Why should people join YNPN-TC now? 

There are so many ways to participate in YNPN - events and workshops, the board, writing for the blog, the new peer mentorship program (to name a few), and membership is free, so it doesn't hurt to join! You get out of it what you put into it. Depending on how involved you want to be, it can be an active or more passive experience. I also appreciate the diverse content in the blog, and the newsletters do a good job of sharing relevant updates and important information.

Favorite career memory?

I really don't have one. There have been high and low points throughout and the best memories involve accomplishing goals (big and small), getting to try new things that challenge me and expand my skill set and experience, and being part of a supportive team that works well together and truly enjoys each other's company.


Jade

Name: Jade Schleif

YNPN-TC Status: I've been involved with YNPN-TC for a while now, it all started when I wrote a guest blog in 2017 about Restorative Practices as an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow. I always check out newsletter updates to stay connected and attend events when I can. The new peer mentor group this year has been a hit! 

Career: YIPA's Training Coordinator

Why did you join YNPN-TC?

I joined YNPN-TC when I first heard about it through my AmeriCorps service with the MN Alliance With Youth. I saw what a great platform it was to share and learn alongside other young non-profit professionals so I got involved by first sharing my own voice. I knew that wherever the non-profit world would take me next I'd need the wisdom of others in my area to help get me there.

Why should people join YNPN-TC now?

It's easy to feel disconnected, or to want to disconnect with everything happening in our world today. It's so important to be able to resist that feeling and instead lean in 100%. Work in the non-profit sector can be challenging, but YNPN-TC is here to help you remember you're not alone. Feel hope and support and get inspired by others as you continue your non-profit journey!

What advice would you have for other young nonprofit professionals?

Through my work with youth, I've come to realize how right the Search Institute is when they say that "relationships are at the heart of what young people need to learn, grow and thrive". I'll take it a step further by saying that's true for just about anyone. No matter your age or background, you need allies! Making efforts to actively stay in touch with young nonprofit professionals you already know and connecting with new ones may bring benefits down the road you may not even dream of, even if the focus of your connection isn't your job. Everyone has unique experiences and talents, and it's our collective responsibility to bring them all to the table to help each other be our best selves. My biggest piece of advice is to think of yourself both as a mentor and a mentee in whatever you do. Stay connected and get involved however you can! Never stop learning!

What is your favorite networking strategy?

Turn it into a game! Give yourself a mission and track points (examples - you'll talk to 3 new people in the office this week, make 2 new LinkedIn connections, send 5 emails to colleagues at your last job. Or put all those networking options in a hat and randomly choose one each week). Earn a reward like your favorite meal or a self-care activity for even more motivation.


Kayla

Name: Kayla Martin

YNPN-TC Status: About two years (with a year living abroad in between)

Career: Advancement Coordinator (at the Montessori Center of Minnesota)

Why did you join YNPN-TC?

I joined YNPN-TC to be able to meet and engage in new ways with other folks in the nonprofit sector who are also in the beginning stages of their career. At a time when I was feeling a bit out of place professionally with very few friends working in the nonprofit field, it was wonderful to find this great group that has allowed me to foster meaningful and helpful connections - something I had been yearning for since starting grad school in 2014 and deciding to pursue a nonprofit career.

Why should people join YNPN-TC now?

People should be joining YNPN-TC as an easy and rewarding way to be part of a great organization that provides opportunities for highly valuable peer engagement and inspiration. Being a member gives you the chance to meet others pursuing similar career paths through various types of events that are both fun and spark important conversations about pertinent issues in the nonprofit sector here in the Twin Cities.

What advice would you have for other young nonprofit professionals?

I would say it is crucial for anybody working in this sector to make sure you are routinely returning to your 'why', meaning reminding yourself at the end of the day why you're doing the work you're doing. We all know the burn out can be real in the nonprofit world, so ensuring that you're following your passion and doing work that you can feel good about is key. I think it's also important to force yourself to step outside your comfort zone every once and awhile - starting off in any new career capacity can be a scary thing, but growing your professional network is key and can be really beneficial as well as enjoyable!

What is your favorite networking strategy?

Attending networking events that also combine some sort of social component (i.e. happy hours, trivia/game nights, etc.) and making an effort to get at least one person's contact info from each event attended.


Lucy

YNPN-TC Status: About a year

Career: Volunteer Network Manager

Why did you join YNPN-TC?

To network with fellow nonprofit professionals and for professional development opportunities.

Why should people join YNPN-TC now?

It's a great way to be more connected to the Twin Cities nonprofit community.

What advice would you have for other young nonprofit professionals?

Be open to new experiences and challenges, you never know where they'll take you on your career path.

What is your favorite networking strategy?

Getting coffee with people is a great way to establish rapport!


Nora

YNPN-TC Status: I’ve been involved with YNPNs across the country for 3 years!

Career: Director of Marketing

Why did you join YNPN-TC?

I have found that finding community in the nonprofit sector can not only change your work, but change your life. There is nothing better than finding like-minded people to learn from and grow with. YNPN offers a space where people from all backgrounds and all walks of life can find common threads that make our lives and communities stronger.

Why should people join YNPN-TC now?

There is no time like now to start this new decade with a group of people who are here to support one another and grow together! You’ll make friends that will last a life time, meet people who can change the trajectory of your life, and find greater peace and satisfaction with your work!

What advice would you have for other young nonprofit professionals?

We work in a field that is so motivating yet can be so overwhelming. Because you’re here, it means you have passion. Are you feeling tired? Burnt out? Don’t underestimate the power that your peers can have on you. When you get together with others who are going through the same thing you are, you’ll remember that together our work can help change the world for the better. Be involved! Network for your wellbeing, not for your LinkedIn!

What is your favorite networking strategy?

Ask at least 10 personal questions. It might seem crazy but the best way to learn about people and why they do what they do, is to learn who they are! Plus, there is never an awkward silence if you’re too busy learning!


LaCora

YNPN-TC Status: Former board member

Career: Program Director

Why did you join YNPN-TC?

To broaden my network, collaborate with my organization and build my leadership skills.

Why should people join YNPN-TC now?

YNPN-TC is a great space to build on your leadership skills without the fear part. You get to learn about finance, build your communication and social media skills and make lifelong friends along they way. YNPN-TC creates space for young nonprofit professionals to flourish.

What advice would you have for other young nonprofit professionals?

Figure out your strengths and do that really well!

What is your favorite networking strategy?

Community Bingo: I get to play a game and meet new people.


Sarah

YNPN-TC Status: I've been a YNPN-TC member for 8 years, but I've been involved in a deeper capacity for about 5. 4 years on the Board of Directors, 1 year off the board but still getting involved where I can.

Career: Audience Engagement Manager at Twin Cities PBS/TPT

Why did you join YNPN-TC?

I joined YNPN-TC because I wanted to network with other people in the sector and make connections that would help in my career. I joined right when I graduated college, and none of my friends were entering nonprofits. I wanted to meet people and build a network of people who I would be working alongside. A few years after joining, I joined the board of directors because I wanted to deepen my involvement and grow skills I wouldn't have had the chance to work on in my day job. After taking on leadership roles ranging from Communications Chair to eventually chair of the board of directors, I was able to develop both hard and soft skills I could carry with me to every job and volunteer role I've had, alongside people that will be friends for life (#cheesy), all because of YNPN-TC.

Why should people join YNPN-TC now?

People should join YNPN-TC because it's really a one-stop-shop for so many aspects of development. You'll get access to a wide variety of events, from social happy hours to events that will make you think and re-examine the world around you, and meet people you may not have had a chance to without such a great network. It's an ever-growing organization, so I can only imagine what types of opportunities will start to pop up in the coming years!

What advice would you have for other young nonprofit professionals?

Get out there! I am very much an extroverted introvert, and networking is one of those things that took ages for me to feel comfortable doing. I still have a lot of times where talking to strangers is the last thing I want to do. But getting out there, being okay with feeling a bit awkward and reminding myself that everyone else does too, was amazing for my professional advancement, and gave me some really incredible friends and connections. If it's nervewracking to do in person, start online! I've gotten coffee with a number of folks because of Twitter - either they've reached out to me or I've reached out to them! I've also build networks on Twitter, which was way easier for me to do than doing it all in-person at events. Follow people, tweet at them, send them a message asking to grab coffee. I've never met a single person who isn't excited to connect with others and help young nonprofit professionals grow in their careers.

What is your favorite networking strategy?

Twitter! If someone follows me and they work in nonprofits, I always follow back (unless I space it, in which case, it's never intentional!). The number of times I've met someone in person and we've said "wow, it's nice to see the face behind the twitter handle" is wild! It's a low stakes way to start conversations with people and build relationships that can easily turn into coffee meetings or grabbing a beer. Either that, or using the "I'm just going to awkwardly join your group" line at networking events. Acknowledging the awkwardness has worked for me!


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