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Pages tagged "Inspiration"


The Maybe Best, Maybe Worst Time I Quit My Job

I’ve quit a few jobs post-college. The first time was terrifying—I returned to the Twin Cities with no job lined up, just with the money I’d saved working as a motel clerk in my tiny hometown. The next one was embarrassing—I quit a part-time job one week in because a full-time offer came my way. After that, an uplifting experience—after over a year of rejections, I finally got a “you’re hired,” and it was from an organization I was wildly passionate about.

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From Sideline to Frontline: Taking the Plunge

main.jpgIt's hard to believe it was only a year ago that I began volunteering with the YNPN-TC Programming Committee. The truth is, though, that I dabbled with the idea of joining YNPN-TC a lot sooner. I just didn't have the gumption to take the plunge.

I've been working in the nonprofit sector since I graduated from college. Fortunately, the supervisors I've had throughout the years have been incredibly supportive and encouraged me to pursue professional development opportunities whenever possible.

The problem was I didn't have a clue where to start looking for these opportunities. So, naturally, I did what anyone would do to find the answer to this question: I Googled it. And when I hit the search button, I got a ton of results, but the top ones featured this group called Young Nonprofit Professionals Network-Twin Cities.

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Lessons Learned From The Lentil Underground

I spent this year’s holiday break doing something a bit unusual—reading a newly-published book about my dad’s life work. Lentil Underground tells the story of farmers in Montana who rejected the industrial, pesticide-heavy trends in agricultural and charted a new, sustainable, organic course (before organic was even a word Montana recognized). My father plays a lead role in this story as a lead recruiter of others to the cause and as CEO of Timeless Seeds, the business enterprise that the movement grew into.

Reading someone else’s chronicle of your dad could be an unusual experience at times: apparently he has the carefree-but-earnest jocularity of a fifties sitcom?!? But it did get me thinking: how much of my life can I see in my dad’s experiences? Does the Minnesota nonprofit world have much in common with some organic farmers in Montana? After a little reflection, I think it does! 

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Dear Giacomo: First Impressions

Nonprofit master Giacomo Crostini is here to answer all your burning questions about life in the nonprofit sector. Email him at info@ynpntwincities.org for advice and guidance.
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giacomo.jpgDear Giacomo, 

Happy new year! I’ve just landed a new job at a nonprofit that I really love. I’m so excited! I’m also a little nervous about making a good first impression with my colleagues and supervisors. Any advice? 

Sincerely,
Nervous, Excited, and Ready Dude
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Cooking Up Your Career

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At this point in my life, I have no idea what I’m baking, but that’s ok because I’m still rounding up all of my ingredients.

If you didn’t attend November’s Breakfast of Champions, this makes absolutely no sense. Judy Alnes, executive director of MAP for Nonprofits, spoke at this breakfast and gave some reassurance to those in the room who had questions or doubts about their careers. Do I go back to school for another degree? How do I stand out in a sea of resumes? How do I better position myself for a promotion within my current organization?

“I like to think of careers as recipes,” said Alnes. In your 20s, you’re gathering the ingredients. You’re finishing your degree; you’re getting work experience; you’re meeting people in your field. In your 30s, you’re sifting, stirring, pouring and mixing those ingredients. This is where you find your niche, where you sharpen your story.

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Gratitude + Wonderment

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton

A few weeks ago, some friends and I attended a weekend seminar entitled Superpower You. The goal of the weekend was to name our inherent superpowers and use them to be more unapologetically, gloriously ourselves. Through a series of exercises, work sheets, conversations, and a few tears, I now know my superpowers.

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Omnivorous Leadership

I never cease to be amazed by my dog Lela’s tireless quest for food, or the broadness of her definition of it. To Lela, food is what you eat. And so during the course of the day yesterday I wrested from her mouth one apple core, a piece of neon yellow chewing gum (used) and apparently-not-poisonous mystery berries.

Although her open-mindedness vis-a-vis “food” leaves me longing for hand sanitizer, I can’t help but admire her instincts. In her own weird way, Lela has no preconceptions about what opportunity is. She pursues it with single-minded enthusiasm.

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Doing Something With Your "Do Something"

main.jpgApril, 2009 Click… Bushfire in Australia kills over 150 people, exact numbers still unknown … Click… the WHO now considers the swine flu outbreak to be an emergency of international concern … Click…an Alabama man kills 9 people before committing suicide … Click …  

I wanted to “DO SOMETHING”. Only, I wasn’t really sure what that “SOMETHING” was- I just had a fuzzy, unfocused and sincere desire to help. I had recently graduated college, was stuck in a boring job, and my only response to horrible things happening in the world, was to click over to cat videos or, at most, write an impassioned Facebook post, where friends would join me in my outrage and inaction.

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Ferguson and the Single Issue Struggle

On Twitter, I saw the picture of Mike Brown’s father holding a cardboard sign saying, “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!” A few days later, I watched the livestream of protesters being tear gassed in Ferguson, literally with my hand over my mouth in shock. There were the pictures of protesters doused in milk to ease the tear gas and the waves of police officers in riot gear with armored cars. Countless images of young black men with their hands in the air: hands up, don’t shoot.

I cannot get these images, and the real lived experiences of what was captured, out of my head.

The post-9/11 mantra of “if you see something, say something” made us fearful of the forgotten backpack and the unknown stranger. But seeing the images from Ferguson compels me to do something, say something, do anything, say anything that can help those strangers. I just don’t know what it is yet.

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My Professional Eureka

My first professional eureka hit me in January 2012. I was skimming the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) job board when I stumbled upon an exciting job, and an even more exciting idea. I immediately knew I had to talk to the organization that posted the job—even if they didn’t offer it to me—because the concept it introduced—social enterprise—was everything I had been looking for. Let me explain why.

The summer after my junior year of college I was super, super excited to score my first paid internship at a Twin Cities nonprofit. In this internship I was asked to (cue ominous music…) solicit silent auction items. My supervisor told me, “Hey, call places up and ask them to give you stuff, because we’re a good cause. It’s gonna be awesome.” (That’s actually not at all what she said.)

The phone took on epic proportions. It grew so big I couldn’t lift it. It got hairy and grew fangs and occasionally hissed malevolently at me when my back was turned. In short, I realized that asking people I don’t know to give me stuff gives me legitimate anxiety. Because of this, I wasn’t sure if I could hack it at a nonprofit after graduating.*

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