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Pages tagged "Madeline Graham"


Ignore this professional advice

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Me: I should really try to follow this professional advice. 
Me to me: Ignore it.

Hey, I see you there. Setting goals, meeting them, just being generally reliable and competent. But... is that enough? Assertive, articulate, logical people are esteemed, and traditional professional advice is full of rules about how to behave more like them: Stop saying these 5 things; Never ask this question at work; Don’t get emotional; Don’t ruin your chances with these 7 behaviors; Take control of situations; and so on.

Some of us are left to worry that our speech, mannerisms, personality or emotions are undermining our own success. While I’m not sure it’s productive to write off ALL professional advice, sometimes Evil Kermit has a point. Here are 5 oft-heard directives I believe we can just stop worrying about.

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Fear not!

main.jpgLately, I’ve been doing something that scares me. And I don’t mean "scare" like the stress from taking on a new responsibility at work; I mean pupil-dilating, limb-trembling, tunnel-vision fear. My personal kryptonite is public speaking, and regardless of preparation, I quake and barely remember what happened when I walk off the stage.

For this blog post, I was hoping to inspire everyone with my story of joining Toastmasters & tackling fear head on. There are so many work-ready platitudes out there about fear — "do one thing that scares you every day" or "face your fears" — I was sure there would be research showing that fear is somehow healthy, that it fires up our brains, that the adrenaline forces us to achieve.

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Thank you, outgoing board members!

main.jpgFive amazing YNPN-TC Board Members are finishing up their terms at the end of the year: Carl Atiya Swanson, Brandon Boat, Cary Walski, Madeline Graham, and Chris Oien.

How can we say thank you to these individuals who have contributed so much to YNPN-TC?

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The bright side of pessimism

How many times in a meeting have you said, “HEY everyone! I have the best idea….” Your boss is nodding vigorously. Your work bestie is clasping her hands in delight. You’re beaming from ear to ear. But you can’t celebrate yet.

You forgot about negative Nelly. Nelly is already scowling. She’s just waiting to chime in with, “That’s out of budget, our CEO doesn’t have Twitter, and where in the heck would we even get a trained polar bear?” Srsly, Nelly, chill!

In the working world there has been long held cultural ideal of the perfect worker: the extraverted, enthusiastic, and ambitious optimist. Inspired by the spate of articles arguing for the value of introverts, I think we need to also recognize the value of having a pessimist on our team.

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Opportunities for YNPN-TC Members

Fall is a great time to be a YNP. There are some awesome discounts and opportunities available to YNPN-TC members we wanted to make sure you know about:

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Don’t Be An “Idea” Person

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ideation and implementation. Based on the ways I’ve heard nonprofiteers talk about these two concepts, it seems we’ve created a false dichotomy. How many times have you heard phrases like: 

  • “I’m no good at details. I’m more of an idea person.”
  • “He focuses on details and doesn’t see the big picture.”

To me, being a strategic, big picture thinker does not preclude you also being a project manager who tracks details like a boss. In fact, I often find that those with boots-on-the-ground implementation experience have better ideas. They are closer to the challenges and opportunities that are ripe for innovation.

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5 Takeaways On “For Good Measure: SROI and Current Trends in Nonprofit Impact Measurement”

For the March event, YNPN-TC hosted an evening conversation on Social Return on Investment and impact evaluation. Not familiar with SROI? Check out the definition here.

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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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