Pages tagged "Diversity"

Young & Professional: Navigating _______ in the Workplace


Join YNPN-TC on Tuesday, September 24th from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm for an honest discussion about issues affecting young nonprofit professionals in the Twin Cities. 

Our panel of experienced professionals will answer our most pressing questions and lead discussions about navigating difficult topics including: racism, homophobia & transphobia, classism, power dynamics, career advancement, mental health and more. 


Abeer Syedah 

Abeer Syedah (she/her) is currently the Director of Equity & Inclusion at Students United, a nonprofit serving the needs of the diverse body of 70,000 students at the seven Minnesota State Universities. Abeer’s background is in higher education equity advocacy and organizing. Before organizing and directing equity initiatives for advocacy groups, she attended the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, where she spent four years in student government and served as Student Body President. You can find her on Twitter at @AbeerSyedah.


Donte Curtis 

Donte Curtis is the owner of Catch Your Dream Consulting where he mentors, inspires, and trains individuals and teams, nationwide, on leadership development,racial equity, entrepreneurship, making effective change and supports them to excel in their dreams and create positive change. With over 10 years of facilitation and speaking experience, Donte is adapt to fostering the collective wisdom in the room and creates space to make sure everyone voice is heard. Probably one of the most energetic people you will ever meet, Donte lives a life that is dedicated to leadership, social justice and liberation.

Check out his Facebook and LinkedIn


Kassira Absar

Kassira Absar has a passion for antiracism and equity work. She has a background in international development, human rights, and is currently a consultant doing research and evaluation. She co-chaired the People of Color Employee Resource Group at her last employer and currently sits on the DE&I committee at her current workplace. She is always working towards creating a more equitable and inclusive workplace and world that does not require compromising the complexity of our identities, honoring intersectionality. 

K. Cross 
Cross is an experienced nonprofit professional, consultant, and educator with a passion for project management and creating equitable, accessible systems to support mission-driven work. Cross came to the nonprofit world from the education sector where they honed their abilities to facilitate rigorous conversations, engage diverse audiences, and make groan-worthy puns. Beyond the office, Cross is a fervent cook, coffee fanatic, and museum- goer. They serve on the steering committee for the YNPN and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Leadership Institute (EYLI) where they enjoy learning from and mentoring emerging leaders across the sector.  Their “top five strengths” are command, strategic, achiever, adaptability, and belief. 

Social Media Links:

Check our their LinkedIn or contact their email at

Written Works:

K. Cross writes grants, case statements, and social communications for nonprofits working in the college access, STEAM, and domestic violence spaces. From 2016-2018, they edited and authored front and back matter for the student-written books Up, Up, and Away; Adventures Within Another; and The Bold, Untold North. The 2018 publication includes an appendix of their original STEAM curriculum. They are an ongoing contributor to the certified Professional Educator Licensure Standards Board (PELSB) cultural competency training curricula.
Shamayne Braman

Recently named by the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal as one of the Twin Cities’ 40 Under 40 Honorees, Shamayne Braman is passionate about creating inclusive cultures and communities. As the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at HealthPartners, an integrated, non-profit, consumer-governed health system serving more than 1.5 million members and more than 1.2 million patients, she is responsible for the organizational development and change management initiatives necessary to execute and sustain the organization’s Diversity and Inclusion strategic priorities. Her work focuses on building relationships and breaking down barriers to create a culture where every colleague, patient, and member feels welcomed, included, and valued. Her past experience includes roles in Global Diversity and 

Inclusion at Thomson Reuters and as a Teach for America corps member. She has served on the board of Teach for America Collective: Twin Cities. She is currently the Chair of the Board of Directors for OutFront Minnesota and a member of the Board of Achieve Minneapolis and One Heartland Minnesota. An avid runner and New Jersey native, Ms. Braman holds a bachelor's degree in English from Princeton University and master's degree in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University. 


Sindy Morales Garcia 

Born in the mountains of Guatemala, Sindy Morales Garcia comes from a long line of resilient tricksters and determined community organizers. Driven by a commitment to social justice and wholeness, Sindy works with the Community Initiatives team at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in Minnesota. She is a trained facilitator in the Art of Hosting and a Qualified Administrator in the Intercultural Development Inventory. Sindy has a B.A. from Bethel University, MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work, and M.Div from Union Theological Seminary

Tyrai Bronson-Pruitt

Tyrai Bronson-Pruitt is a passionate, energetic leader and facilitator who strives to empower others to recognize and celebrate differences in order to create change in the individual and their communities.

As a Certified Racial Justice Facilitator and Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and Intercultural Conflict Styles Inventory (ICS), Tyrai has developed and led a variety of diversity, equity and inclusion trainings and activities, including Circle Dialogue sessions on the topics of race, age, gender and other identities. Tyrai is the recipient of the 2016 Catalytic Leader Award given by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits for her work in creating diverse and inclusive workspaces and communities. She received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Creighton University and later a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Judson University. She has also completed the Diversity and Equity Certificate program at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. SooJin Pate 

Dr. SooJin Pate is an educator, DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) specialist, and writer dedicated to praxis that centers the lives and experiences of historically marginalized communities. She has taught courses on critical race theory, women of color feminism, African diasporic literature, and U.S. history and culture at various colleges and universities. She also provides training on DEI issues and radical self-care. She is the author of From Orphan to Adoptee: U.S. Empire and Genealogies of Korean Adoption (UMN Press, 2014) and currently working on a memoir and two picture books. Her writings on self-care and Korean adoption have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.

You can find her on LinkedIn and Facebook

Notable Awards/Recognitions:

2014 Educator of the Year, Macalester College

2012 Outstanding Ally of the Year, Department of Multicultural Life, Macalester College

Selected Publications:

“Where do we go from here? An Adoptee’s Reflection on Life after Loss, Reunion, and Loss Again.” Grief Diaries, June 15, 2018.

Girl Positive: Supporting Girls to Shape a New World by Tatiana Fraser and Caia Hagel. Toronto: Random House Canada, 2016. (I served as a consultant and editor and was interviewed for this book)

“The Radical Politics of Self-Love and Self-Care,” The Feminist Wire, April 30, 2014.

“‘What’s Next For You?’”Chronicle of Higher Education,April 7, 2014.

From Orphan to Adoptee: U.S. Empire and Genealogies of Korean Adoption (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014).

Brought to you by:
September 24, 2019 at 5:30pm
Hamline Midway Library
1558 W Minnehaha Ave
St Paul, MN 55104
United States
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Dismantling White Supremacy in Nonprofits: a starting point

I have a confession to make; I no longer work in the nonprofit sector in Minnesota, nor do I live in the state. I recently made the big decision to pursue graduate school in order to further my own passions and learning. While I am enjoying this new and challenging journey, I still find myself deeply connected to the nonprofit sector, a place where I spent the majority of my 20’s working, learning, and growing.

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Making room at the table

There are plenty of articles and papers that lament the lack of diversity in the nonprofit sector, especially within leadership or board positions. While I agree that these are pertinent issues that need to be rectified, I also believe that each one of us has power in the spaces we occupy.

Sometimes we don’t need to wait for someone to make space for us at their table, because we have the power to make space for others at our table. As young professionals, it can be easy to think from a scarcity mindset and to be focused on our development. However, my mentors have both taught and demonstrated the power of paying it forward.

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Navigating the world when your brain just doesn’t feel like it: How one YNPNer juggles work and mental health

*Disclaimer: This blog post represents the views and experiences of the author only. It is in no way an attempt to diagnose or treat!

main.jpgA day doesn’t go by where my purse isn’t fully stocked with either ginger candies or ginger mints – they are my go-to when I start to feel sick and my anxiety skyrockets. My dad’s phone is always on loud and right by his bed – he wakes up really early, which is usually when my panic attacks come on, so he wants to make sure he hears his phone if I call needing help. I just bought a super plush mattress topper – I don’t sleep much at night (regardless of comfort level), but for the days when I can’t muster the energy to get out of bed, it’s a lifesaver.

My story is like so many others – although my combo may be different, I happen to suffer from depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and emetophobia (a phobia of throwing up – who knew that was a thing?). Mental health affects so many, and I can’t imagine our sector is any different. And with many of our jobs requiring multiple hats, long hours, and tight deadlines, stress can only exacerbate it.

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YNPN Twin Cities: You are valued. You are welcome here, just as you are.

At YNPN Twin Cities, our values are to strive for respect and inclusiveness, to seek opportunities to collaborate, and to respond to the evolving needs of our community. YNPN Twin Cities has always and will continue to stand in solidarity with all of our members. It should go without saying, but hate, discrimination, racism and sexism is never acceptable and will not be tolerated by YNPN Twin Cities.

This election has caused a wide range of feelings and reactions by our members, our community and our nation, including shock, fear, grief, anger, and a loss of justice. We validate and respect those feelings. Self-care is hard in nonprofit work, and we encourage you to take care of yourself now more than ever, whatever that looks like.

To all of our members, the Twin Cities community, and our peers across the country: We see you. You are valued. We believe you. You are welcome here, just as you are. You are loved.

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Be a contender: Mental illness recovery & your resume

main2.jpgAs a person who has healed from four severe mental illnesses and a blooming young professional, I believe in acknowledging the whole of my experience. I bring it up during all of my interviews because I don’t want to work for people who stigmatize my uniquely acquired knowledge base. Mentally ill Americans are one in five, about as common as brown eyes.

If you’ve started looking for help, excellent–you’re among 50% of the mentally ill population. More people have a Facebook account right now. Before you’ve even gotten into the therapy room, you’re already an amazing human being. Why not heal and use the awesome skills that come from this journey to get a job that matches your worth? Let’s get down to business and frame those core competencies.

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Shimmy and swim to confidence

Speak Up. Don't Speak Up. Be Assertive. Raise Your Hand. Calm Down. Interrupt. Be Nice. Don't Be Intimidating. Don't Be Angry. Calm Down. Stop Shouting. Dress Respectably. Be Confident.Every person at the latest Pollen Work Redux event about Confidence was beautiful. I mean this in the sense that the folks attending were projecting a seriously genuine aura of belief in themselves, support, and kindness, and it was absolutely amazing to be in a room with 250 other women with that kind of vibe.

This is true of every event I go to in this series focusing on bringing together “women spanning diverse backgrounds to reimagine the future of the workplace.” Unfortunately, there’s no space large enough for every woman in the Twin Cities to simultaneously experience a Work Redux event, so this blog is my little part to share the message far and wide – women are in the workplace and, in the words of Pollen’s Jamie Millard, we have a crisis of confidence, but together we are going to totally rock the world.

Pollen's Work Redux events embody what Nancy Lyons of Clockwork (and one of the panelists) advised – “As leaders, we make room for people to come exactly as they are.” Outside of our jobs, we have families, passions, hobbies.  We are activists and artists, naturalists and explorers. We can’t leave our worries, our mental and physical illnesses, or our insecurities at the door. We are whole people, and accepting a whole person in a space – especially a work place – can bring so much to the table. How we accomplish this can look really different, depending on the space.

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Kindness—large and small—and how Minnesota shows it


I’ve been thinking recently that there are two kinds of kindness: microsocial and macrosocial. I totally made these words up, but hey, I gotta use my philosophy degree for something.

Microsocial kindness is a person-to-person dedication to someone else’s wellbeing: offering someone a ride, sharing food, listening to their woes, bringing them soup when sick, and so on. This kindness is very small-scale, grassroots, and individualized. People tend to save it for their immediate friends and family. It makes sense; there are only so many hours in a day and so much money in your wallet; no one can spend every minute of every day helping others.

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Equity and fakequity

main.jpgWhat does it take to actually bring about equity in the nonprofit sector and communities?

I think about this question a lot, particularly in the context of the nonprofit workforce and leadership. Minnesota tops the national lists as the most educated, literate and healthy. But, it also tops the lists indicating the highest educational, employment and health disparities in communities of color. Minnesota is great at everything, including disparities. Nonprofits play an important role in all of these areas of inequity in our communities, and Minnesota's nonprofit staff, leaders and boards are not reflective of the communities in which we work.

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Mind the gap: Wage inequity and you

main.jpgToday is Equal Pay Day - what does that mean? Each year, that day marks the amount of time women have to work into the current year to match the earnings of their male counterparts in the previous year. (Women and men of color experience on average an even greater pay inequity and have to work further into the year to make up the difference.)

In Minnesota, we tend to pride ourselves as state that fosters strong, healthy communities and looks out for our most vulnerable residents. Although we do stand ahead of many states in community health and well-being in some measures, we still face challenges prevalent across the country and world, including a gender wage gap. Women make a fraction of the wages of their male counterparts, even with identical training and experience.

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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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