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Pages tagged "Personal Development"


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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Networking tips for people who hate mixers

main.jpgThe schedule said the speaking event started at 5:30. I had a class at 6:30. If I left a little early, I could catch most of the panel on generational interaction in the workplace. I showed up a little before 5:30 and was ready to go.

But 5:30 rolled around, and it didn’t look like things were going to start anytime soon. 5:35 comes and goes and people are milling around, chatting and networking. I asked one of the people working the welcome table when the panel would start.

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Life on leave: Lessons learned as a new parent

tummytime.jpgTwenty-sixteen has been an incredible year for the Winegar household. In April, my husband and I celebrated a major milestone: We became parents. Our son, Garrett, is pretty awesome (#MomBrag) and he's definitely schooled us when it comes to parenting. There is undoubtedly a steep learning curve as any new parent will tell you, but while on maternity leave, I found there were four lessons I could aptly apply to my professional life, too.

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What are you waiting for?

main.jpgI quit my job today.

It wasn’t a bad job. It didn’t have a horrible boss or nightmare coworkers. In fact, I should have been loving it. I had my own desk with a window, flexible hours and a salary with benefits. I was one of the lucky ones. I had a job in my field guaranteed the day I walked across the stage and was handed my diploma. It was the epitome of a successful college career. What more could I ask for? 

But, after classes ceased and the mundane work days all too rapidly began to blend into a depressing spiral with an unforseeable end, I panicked. What had I done? How did I get to this point? Was this going to be my life for the next 20 years?

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Confessions of a bullet journal junkie

main.jpgHello, my name is Erica, and I have a Type A personality. To say that I can be obsessive is an understatement. It’s why I always volunteer as note-taker in meetings. It’s why I had memorized every lyric of Hamilton a week after buying the soundtrack. It’s why I frequently dive into new creative hobbies…most of which only last for about a week of intense investment. But one obsession that has stuck with me has been a desire to put my life down on paper. 

Like many adolescent girls my journaling began with a penchant for the dramatic. The middle school diary was a place for dissecting crucial issues like where to sit during lunch, what crushes had spurned my imaginary advances, and the reasons that Orlando Bloom should be worshiped. I wish I had these manifestos to look back on today, but with my embarrassed page-ripping and need to cleanse any lapses by tossing the previous failed attempt, nothing remains today but memories like smeared jelly roll pen. 

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The benefits of being a part of a network: A personal experience reflection

NetworkingThis past March, I had the good fortune to be sent to the NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) in sunny San Jose, California. It was set to be an intense three days of learning and networking, which I was a bit nervous about.

I had been to a couple NTC conferences with close co-workers before, but this year I was going with the President/CTO of our company. While getting a chance to get to know him a little better was great, I also figured I’d probably be spending much of the conference solo - and I was right.

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Hitting pause--reflecting on a hectic week

main.jpgIt was that kind of week again. Working 10, 11, and 12 hour days, driving away from the gas station with the gas cap still open, and trying to balance writing testimony for hearings at the Capitol, thinking about media opportunities for the end of tax season, and planning a fundraiser for a board I’m on. What’s more is that I also tried to stop drinking coffee again and switched to tea. Let’s just say that I ended up drinking coffee again by Thursday.

Maybe writing this blog post is therapeutic for me and a means to vent, but I actually think there’s something important to discuss. Nonprofits, doing the good work in the world, are often full of ambitious young people willing to say “yes” to everything because it’s difficult to pass an opportunity that could make a difference and/or further a career. (I obviously couldn’t say no to writing this blog!)

Pausing to reflect over the past week, there were three important learnings that really stuck with me.

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Career power up: Professional mentor

mario.jpgI’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.

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Creating a culture of vulnerability

main.jpgWe've all been there. Our anxiety goes up while we scroll down on Facebook. We think "Why is everyone else's life so perfect, while I'm a mess?" One friend just got her MBA ("I don't think I could pass the GRE"), another posted a whole album of photos of him and his boyfriend in Las Vegas-smiling and laughing in all of them ("Me and my partner are bickering a lot lately, is she the wrong person for me?"). A cousin just posted about their 7-mile jog around the lake ("I haven't worked out in 3 weeks, I'm so lazy").

Facebook updates are symptomatic of a broader cultural truth: vulnerability is not rewarded. Revealing our weaknesses and shortcomings is not wise. What we're taught to do instead is hide our faults, embellish our positive qualities and try to one-up everyone.

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A beginner's guide to fostering meaningful conversations

main.jpgOrganizations and teams that are able to foster meaningful conversations are ahead of the game. Meaningful and honest conversations help minimize communication problems, and increase productivity, by coming together around shared goals. Unfortunately, this is not often the case. Body language, subtext, and culture heavily influence the conversations we have. Additionally, organizational politics, mistrust or fear of vulnerability can hold back honest communication all together.

So how do you as an individual, regardless of position, begin to create the space for meaningful conversations? It takes patience, persistence, confidence and a checklist. This checklist is by no means an exhaustive summary on how to create meaningful conversations, it is a starter kit you can use to begin the process.

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