We know it’s nearly impossible to get to know all the young professionals in our vast network, which is why we shine the spotlight on one person who is making an especially significant impact in their field. Hearing other people’s experiences and perspectives gives us a chance to learn, grow, and shape the nonprofit sector of tomorrow.
In that spirit, we introduce to you Tyrai Ross, Metro Program Manager at Reading and Math Inc. and winner of the 2016 Catalytic Leader Award, presented by Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
Tyrai and her colleagues work with schools, school districts, and nonprofits to train and place AmeriCorps fellows where they’re needed most. They bring research-based math and reading strategies for pre-K to 8th grade students. Disadvantaged adults can get training, credentialing, and education to help them in their quest for a living wage job.
YNPN Twin Cities: What does being a YNPN member mean to you?
Tyrai: It means that I have the opportunity to not only share my ideas with other professionals but, I also get to take in all of the knowledge that my peers bring to our work. I see it as a the melting pot of information and growth for Twin Cities Professionals in the nonprofit sector!
YNPN Twin Cities: Tell us how you got to be where you are now.
Tyrai: I started out as an elementary school teacher who understood quickly that education was not the only area of life where I could make an impact. I began looking for ways to expand my impact on my students and our community. Now, I am a Program Manager and the Co-Founder and Leader of the Diversity and Inclusion Cross Functional Team at Reading and Math, Inc., more commonly known as Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps. I have learned that my opportunity to make an impact does not have to be confined to the classroom, but I can also shape a student's life by equipping other caring adults to guide and shape their educational experience in a way that recognizes and celebrates their differences everyday!
YNPN Twin Cities: If you could improve any aspect of the nonprofit sector, what would you change?
Tyrai: I would like to change our mindset around how we serve each other as a collective. I'd like to see more opportunities within each organization to partner and support one another across communities in the true spirit of social service.
YNPN Twin Cities: What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten as a young professional?
Tyrai: I don't have an exact phrase but I do recall, as a child, watching my mother and grandmother sharing meals, donating clothes and providing shelter to those in need. As I grew up I understood that it was not about the physical things they were sharing but it was about the feeling of hope and love that they were passing on to each person through their genuine care for others. I have decided that in my personal and professional life I will do my very best to empower and uplift others through my words, thoughts and actions.
Note: In an earlier version of this blog post, YNPN-TC used language when phrasing a question that was not inclusive of all of our members and our community at large. It was a mistake and fell short of our values, and we apologize. Thank you to members who brought this to our attention.