Pages tagged "Diversity Inclusion & Access"

What do you mean you need a work visa?

“What do you mean you need a work visa?” After this question, many of my job interviews turned really awkward. Another common question that would follow was, “So, are you here illegally?”

Uh, no.

As an international student at a U.S. college, I always knew in the back of my head that if I wanted to stay and work in this county, I would need my employer to sponsor my work visa. What does that mean? Simply put, you have to submit an application and your employer pretty much pays the country to let you work here. But the truth is that this process is nothing short of a nightmare. It might seem that the complicated part is the visa application, but, in my experience, the challenge came long before the visa process.

I was fortunate to have a good International Student Program at my school. They were always very helpful, and they had all the information we needed to know. If you are going to embark in the adventure that is a work visa, make sure you reach out to someone who is familiar with the process to guide you. If you don’t know anyone (or even if you do), here’s some advice from a person who’s been there.

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4 things Ramadan teaches me about winning at work


"Ramadan Mubarak" means "Congratulations on the start of Ramadan!"

I always wish I could use a different tone to raise awareness about what Ramadan is. For practicing Muslims, Ramadan embodies the epic challenge of controlling your body’s physical demands so that you can focus on inner, spiritual rejuvenation. I usually turn this into a gripe about how we can’t drink or eat anything from sunrise to sunset and how the summer days are long and make for challenging fasts.*

While those things are true, they don’t capture the essence of Muslim reverence toward Ramadan. It’s a month that many Muslims look forward to. In the realm of the unseen, (bear with me non-religious folks) Muslims believe that the gates of heaven are open, the gates of hell are closed, and the devils are chained up during the month so that people’s ability to do good is maximized.

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Announcing the DIA Action Force

As part of our strategic work and dedication to all young professionals in the Twin Cities, we are launching the DIA Action Force!

What’s an Action Force you might ask? Well, we’re not 100% sure. And we need folks dedicated to Diversity, Inclusion, and Access to help us shape it. What we do know is that, while helpful, discussions and conversations about Equity can only take an organization so far, and they just scratch the surface of dismantling oppressive institutions. We want to take action, we want to shape the sector, and we want to start immediately.

We're currently looking for a leader for this new DIA Action Force. If you are interested in this position, click here to learn more about the committee’s work, and to read a position description for the leader we're seeking. The person taking on this leadership role won't be going at it alone! They will have the support of the YNPN-TC board, and we're also currently recruiting volunteers for the action force. If you know someone who would be a great fit for this leader position, please share this email with them.

If you're interested in getting involved more in YNPN-TC and in this capacity, please contact Cara Luebke at by Friday, June 23.

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We need to raise the AmeriCorps living allowance. Here’s why.

main.jpgRaise your hand if you got your start in the nonprofit sector as an AmeriCorps member. I did, my spouse did, many of our YNPN Twin Cities members did, and maybe you did too.  

I served two terms in AmeriCorps and can directly trace my career trajectory back through my current grant writing position to a corporate fundraising job and back to my AmeriCorps gig in corporate volunteer coordination experience. My spouse served as an AmeriCorps member with a conservation organization and is now a certified arborist, providing field support to AmeriCorps members in a full-time position at that same nonprofit. We are living proof AmeriCorps provides relevant entry-level experience to people looking to start careers in the nonprofit sector.

AmeriCorps is valuable in training entry-level staff and helping people get a foot in the nonprofit door, which is why we need to raise the living stipend.

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Excellence, top dogs, and underdogs

main.jpgI consider myself progressive, but in an attempt to understand opposing views, I read Science Left Behind by Alex Berezow and Hank Campbell. Instead of placing politics on a left-to-right spectrum, the authors used a triangle to distinguish between liberals, libertarians, progressives, and conservatives. The three points on the triangle were Freedom, which liberals and libertarians most value; Equality or fairness, which progressives most value; and Excellence, which conservatives most value.

Excellence, they said, was made of self-determination and personal initiative. Conservatives want people to be able to excel if they choose and think the best should win. They oppose too much regulation and like competition. At one point, the authors stated that, "We might even begin to make the case that progressives are engaged in an undeclared war on excellence itself."

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Come have lunch with me

main.jpgCome have lunch with me. 

No, seriously, it’s really that simple. I want you to come have lunch with me.

Let me tell you my reasoning behind that.

As nonprofit professionals, we understand the benefit of community and how it helps make our work meaningful. Many of us have seen first-hand how awe-inspiring it can be to have the feeling that our work is so much more impactful when it is community-led and community-driven. YNPN ensures that community building has the components of diversity, inclusion, and access in order to guide our actions and programming as YNPN members. However, how often are we individually undertaking these values in our own professional and personal lives? The idea is simple to understand but much more difficult to execute.

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Take Time to Read the NPQ & YNPN Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Reader

Some of you may remember a call last year by Nonprofit Quarterly and YNPN National to contribute articles to their Equity, Diversity and Inclusion reader. Throughout 2016, they’ve been publishing these incredible articles from young professionals, ranging from topics of representation in volunteer groups to doulas to looking at the structure of evaluation to supporting the ever mythical nonprofit unicorn: executive directors of color. You may ever recognize some of the authors - Al Heartly gave a dynamic presentation at 2016’s Five Minutes in Hell.

So read some articles, share with your coworkers, and let these thoughtful perspectives sink into your daily work in meaningful ways. The full list of articles is here or you can read them one by one:

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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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