Life in the nonprofit sector is challenging. The pay is often low, the challenges are high, and burnout is a real and serious concern. Many people come to YNPN looking for insight about how to succeed in this challenging field. Proactive workers looking for ways to excel can have an especially difficult time accepting that they don’t have total control over their own destiny in an organization. The reality is that your boss or supervisor holds the keys to a prosperous or painful path, and they need to want you to succeed if you’re to shine.
As the person who dictates your duties, evaluates your performance, and has the final say on whether to pursue the ideas and projects you propose, your boss is a critical figure in your professional life. It benefits you to do what you can to encourage a positive relationship. But sometimes it can feel like you’re on different teams, despite both of you working for the same organization with the same mission.Read more
I’ve been fortunate to have several opportunities for professional development in the past few years, both within and outside of my workplace. Among the webinars, cohorts, workshops and trainings I’ve pursued, working with a mentor has been the most beneficial.
First, I have to say that I can’t believe mentorships aren’t more common. I know people who have had similarly positive transformative experiences with personal and professional mentors, but it feels like an arrangement that remains massively underutilized on the whole.Read more
When I was a recent college grad in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I had lunch with a woman several decades ahead of me in her career. She had a job I wanted some day, and I was so grateful she had agreed to meet with me.
She recommended many things to me that day. One of those things, however, was especially impactful.
A YNPN chapter was just starting up in Milwaukee, at that time. “Go seek them out and get involved,” she said. “You’ll really make a name for yourself.” This woman was well-respected in the nonprofit community, and her words seemed golden to me. I didn’t waste a moment seeking out YNPN.Read more
Mentorship was a hot topic at YNPN’s Turn It Up to 11 event last November and continues to be on the minds of our board as we look toward the future of YNPN and our own personal career paths. Just as YNPN looks to other organizations to show us next steps, we members can do the same in our personal lives and careers by choosing mentors who have collected knowledge, experience and finely honed talents we admire and hope to emulate in the future.Read more
Emerging into your professional self is a lot of work. The through line isn’t apparent, and in that moment, it appears as if you’re just muddling along. But, you don’t have to muddle alone.
At the June Emerging Leaders Network Lunch on mentoring, a friend who was in my cohort at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Leadership Institute identified me as one of her mentors. (I would have self-identified her as a peer with a certain skill-set.) Throughout our conversation about mentors and mentoring, it was clear that many of us simultaneously occupy both roles.
In our jobs and as volunteers, we are often called on to help others. But at the same time we are also finding our way, developing and honing skills, and building our networks. This dynamic is one reason I find mentors and peer networks so appealing.Read more