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Pages tagged "Personal Development"


Joining YNPN is the best career move you’ll ever make (& 12 other things I've learned so far)

main.jpgWhen 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. 

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What a two-person office has taught me about workplace culture

main.jpgI recently celebrated one year at my company, jabber logic, which provides marketing and consulting services for nonprofits and small businesses. In the past year, as I’ve explained to friends and family what I do — helping clients rebrand, managing social media, writing website copy — there’s one fact that seems to stand out most: I’m one of just two people in my office

My boss, Amee McDonald, founded the company with her husband, and we work with contract employees on specific projects. But, most days, it’s just the two of us in an open office. There are no cubicles to retreat to, and no hiding the fact that you just microwaved a fragrant bowl of soup. I’m not only constantly aware of the office dynamic; I’m partially responsible for it. And while that alone can be demanding, it’s also been a valuable lesson in determining the kind of workplace culture I want and what I can do to shape it.

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So you’ve got an idea... Now what?

You have an ideaThe beginning of the year is a time for optimism, planning new changes, and gearing up for greater impact than the year before. It’s a time of inspiration, but how often have you felt stymied, misunderstood, or rejected when trying to get the rest of the team on board?

There are many challenges in translating ideas into action. First, getting the idea from fuzzy dream to clear concept. Then, getting others to understand your vision for change. If you’ve made it this far (congratulations!), now you need to translate the ideas into actions, not to mention figuring out the implementation and (if you were right) the impact.

Still inspired? Fortunately, even our breakthrough innovations can follow in the footsteps of past brilliance. There are tools, steps, and process that can reduce your risk and guide your direction. Let’s go through the steps.

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Optimistically yours

I know I’m not alone in thinking there are a lot of super complicated things going on in the world right now. But I also have a hard time keeping world happenings separate from my own life.

We live in a world where Donald Trump is running for president and might win the Republican nomination, a world where a large number of people agree with his assertion that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to enter the U.S. In this world, terrorism and mass shootings are not altogether unexpected, and the discussion of racism in the Twin Cities has been pushed front and center.

Every time I hear the news, I find myself thinking, “How do I fit into all of this?”  Because none of these things look like a future I really want to be a part of.

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Living life with intention

Mountain TopAs millennials, we are often blamed for being self-centered and self-focused - a claim which I whole-heartedly deny. Just look at the sheer number of volunteer hours and interest in the nonprofit sector of our generation! One thing I blame for this misconception is our interest in living our lives with intention. Growing up, we were told by our baby-boomer parents that we could do and be whatever we wanted to be – the world was our oyster. Now that we’re stepping into the “real world,” we want to get out of it everything we can. We want to live less out of habit and more out of intent, but sometimes that can be difficult.

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The path less taken

Path in the WildernessWhen I heard we were going to do a session on non-linear career paths as part of the EPIP-YNPN Leadership Institute, I was super excited. I’m a pro at this; I’ve spent the last six-ish years having absolutely no idea where my career was going.

I graduated in 2009 with a double major in International Relations and Arabic and a concentration in Middle Eastern studies, so I had one very clear career option: becoming a spy. (Or, you know, going into international business, working as a translator, becoming a diplomat, etc.)

Unfortunately for me, none of those careers panned out, and it was the height of the recession. There were no jobs for recent college grads, so my career focus had to shift from dreams of shaken martinis to attempts at gaining job experience and building my resume.

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(Un)professional: A roundup of awkward, embarrassing, human moments at work

Embarrased sculptureProfessional embarrassments. Everyone's been there—some of us more than others. Spilling printer toner all over the office. Wiping out in front of a hallway full of people and a security camera. Having the CEO see your computer screen in passing and exclaim, "What a nice picture of the governor!" then come closer only to see that you were in the middle of a Photoshop teeth whitening session.  

These are just the stories I'm willing to admit.

I posted on social media and handed out business cards with a verbal prompt during Professional Polish (ironic, I know). Then I sat back and watched the stories roll in. You didn't hold back.

Here's a selection of your working and networking blunders, republished anonymously but with the profanity intact. 

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Putting care into your self care

The following blog is by Amy Highness. 

Organizing self careSelf-care. Such an obvious, yet seemingly elusive concept. The notion of taking care of ourselves in order to be more effective in our work and personal lives seems pretty straight-forward, yet in the crunch to answer a few more emails, check off a few more to-dos, and simply meet the basics of daily survival, it gets lost. Something needs to change, but the usual advice - go to the gym, eat healthy food, socialize! - feels too vague and perhaps those are things we’ve been doing all along anyway. So now what?

We dug into this quandary at our most recent session of the 2015-16 EPIP-YNPN Leadership Institute, sponsored by the Twin Cities chapters of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities (YNPN-TC). The group was not short on fantastic ideas, and there were a few key themes that really stood out to me:

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What it means to lead

Thinking at sunsetI recently read an article on LinkedIn by Justin Bariso about the downside of being called a leader. At first glance, I thought this was totally counterintuitive. We've all heard the phrase, "Be a leader, not a follower," right? Exactly.

But once I actually read the post, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I agreed with his insight. And a big reason why comes from a resource one of my first bosses shared with me to help us identify how to work well together: StrengthsFinder.

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My time as a YNPN-TC boardie

Applications for the YNPN Twin Cities Board of Directors opened on September 8th—we are on the lookout for awesome people to join us!  I thought I would write a blog post describing my experience as a board member after nearly one year and hopefully inspire some of you to apply and help shape our beloved organization.

At the risk of sounding cheesy, I will say this about my decision to go for the YNPN Board – it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. It has given me an incredible opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. I’ve been able to meet and get to know other amazing nonprofit professionals and develop leadership skills I didn’t know I had. Being on the board is so much more than that though.

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info@ynpntwincities.org

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Our mission, vision and values guide all that we do at the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities (YNPN-TC).

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