Pages tagged "Professional Development"

Young & Professional: Navigating _______ in the Workplace


Join YNPN-TC on Tuesday, September 24th from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm for an honest discussion about issues affecting young nonprofit professionals in the Twin Cities. 

Our panel of experienced professionals will answer our most pressing questions and lead discussions about navigating difficult topics including: racism, homophobia & transphobia, classism, power dynamics, career advancement, mental health and more. 


Abeer Syedah 

Abeer Syedah (she/her) is currently the Director of Equity & Inclusion at Students United, a nonprofit serving the needs of the diverse body of 70,000 students at the seven Minnesota State Universities. Abeer’s background is in higher education equity advocacy and organizing. Before organizing and directing equity initiatives for advocacy groups, she attended the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, where she spent four years in student government and served as Student Body President. You can find her on Twitter at @AbeerSyedah.


Donte Curtis 

Donte Curtis is the owner of Catch Your Dream Consulting where he mentors, inspires, and trains individuals and teams, nationwide, on leadership development,racial equity, entrepreneurship, making effective change and supports them to excel in their dreams and create positive change. With over 10 years of facilitation and speaking experience, Donte is adapt to fostering the collective wisdom in the room and creates space to make sure everyone voice is heard. Probably one of the most energetic people you will ever meet, Donte lives a life that is dedicated to leadership, social justice and liberation.

Check out his Facebook and LinkedIn


Kassira Absar

Kassira Absar has a passion for antiracism and equity work. She has a background in international development, human rights, and is currently a consultant doing research and evaluation. She co-chaired the People of Color Employee Resource Group at her last employer and currently sits on the DE&I committee at her current workplace. She is always working towards creating a more equitable and inclusive workplace and world that does not require compromising the complexity of our identities, honoring intersectionality. 

K. Cross 
Cross is an experienced nonprofit professional, consultant, and educator with a passion for project management and creating equitable, accessible systems to support mission-driven work. Cross came to the nonprofit world from the education sector where they honed their abilities to facilitate rigorous conversations, engage diverse audiences, and make groan-worthy puns. Beyond the office, Cross is a fervent cook, coffee fanatic, and museum- goer. They serve on the steering committee for the YNPN and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Leadership Institute (EYLI) where they enjoy learning from and mentoring emerging leaders across the sector.  Their “top five strengths” are command, strategic, achiever, adaptability, and belief. 

Social Media Links:

Check our their LinkedIn or contact their email at

Written Works:

K. Cross writes grants, case statements, and social communications for nonprofits working in the college access, STEAM, and domestic violence spaces. From 2016-2018, they edited and authored front and back matter for the student-written books Up, Up, and Away; Adventures Within Another; and The Bold, Untold North. The 2018 publication includes an appendix of their original STEAM curriculum. They are an ongoing contributor to the certified Professional Educator Licensure Standards Board (PELSB) cultural competency training curricula.
Shamayne Braman

Recently named by the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal as one of the Twin Cities’ 40 Under 40 Honorees, Shamayne Braman is passionate about creating inclusive cultures and communities. As the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at HealthPartners, an integrated, non-profit, consumer-governed health system serving more than 1.5 million members and more than 1.2 million patients, she is responsible for the organizational development and change management initiatives necessary to execute and sustain the organization’s Diversity and Inclusion strategic priorities. Her work focuses on building relationships and breaking down barriers to create a culture where every colleague, patient, and member feels welcomed, included, and valued. Her past experience includes roles in Global Diversity and 

Inclusion at Thomson Reuters and as a Teach for America corps member. She has served on the board of Teach for America Collective: Twin Cities. She is currently the Chair of the Board of Directors for OutFront Minnesota and a member of the Board of Achieve Minneapolis and One Heartland Minnesota. An avid runner and New Jersey native, Ms. Braman holds a bachelor's degree in English from Princeton University and master's degree in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University. 


Sindy Morales Garcia 

Born in the mountains of Guatemala, Sindy Morales Garcia comes from a long line of resilient tricksters and determined community organizers. Driven by a commitment to social justice and wholeness, Sindy works with the Community Initiatives team at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in Minnesota. She is a trained facilitator in the Art of Hosting and a Qualified Administrator in the Intercultural Development Inventory. Sindy has a B.A. from Bethel University, MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work, and M.Div from Union Theological Seminary

Tyrai Bronson-Pruitt

Tyrai Bronson-Pruitt is a passionate, energetic leader and facilitator who strives to empower others to recognize and celebrate differences in order to create change in the individual and their communities.

As a Certified Racial Justice Facilitator and Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and Intercultural Conflict Styles Inventory (ICS), Tyrai has developed and led a variety of diversity, equity and inclusion trainings and activities, including Circle Dialogue sessions on the topics of race, age, gender and other identities. Tyrai is the recipient of the 2016 Catalytic Leader Award given by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits for her work in creating diverse and inclusive workspaces and communities. She received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Creighton University and later a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Judson University. She has also completed the Diversity and Equity Certificate program at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. SooJin Pate 

Dr. SooJin Pate is an educator, DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) specialist, and writer dedicated to praxis that centers the lives and experiences of historically marginalized communities. She has taught courses on critical race theory, women of color feminism, African diasporic literature, and U.S. history and culture at various colleges and universities. She also provides training on DEI issues and radical self-care. She is the author of From Orphan to Adoptee: U.S. Empire and Genealogies of Korean Adoption (UMN Press, 2014) and currently working on a memoir and two picture books. Her writings on self-care and Korean adoption have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.

You can find her on LinkedIn and Facebook

Notable Awards/Recognitions:

2014 Educator of the Year, Macalester College

2012 Outstanding Ally of the Year, Department of Multicultural Life, Macalester College

Selected Publications:

“Where do we go from here? An Adoptee’s Reflection on Life after Loss, Reunion, and Loss Again.” Grief Diaries, June 15, 2018.

Girl Positive: Supporting Girls to Shape a New World by Tatiana Fraser and Caia Hagel. Toronto: Random House Canada, 2016. (I served as a consultant and editor and was interviewed for this book)

“The Radical Politics of Self-Love and Self-Care,” The Feminist Wire, April 30, 2014.

“‘What’s Next For You?’”Chronicle of Higher Education,April 7, 2014.

From Orphan to Adoptee: U.S. Empire and Genealogies of Korean Adoption (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014).

Brought to you by:
September 24, 2019 at 5:30pm
Hamline Midway Library
1558 W Minnehaha Ave
St Paul, MN 55104
United States
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Funny girl: On humor, success, and gender

Recently, I played a game called Quiplash for the first time with a group of friends over a long cabin weekend. Over multiple rounds, the game presents prompts and asks two participants to each fill in a response with the goal of being as funny as possible. Then the rest of the participants vote on which response was best, with the submitter’s identity importantly remaining anonymous. After several rounds, a winner is declared based on who secured the most votes for their responses. We played several games, and I was shocked to win three times, more than any other individual, and almost consistently placed in in the top three.

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A new professional perspective online

We all have a story that led us to our careers – the careers where we feel are our calling.

For me, my calling was journalism – after finding public radio in the middle of the night as a result of insomnia during a major health issue. Yet, changes were unfolding as I graduated. As people consume news in the digital space, revenue has been impacted and jobs are hard to find. The additional competition for jobs made me wonder continuously if I made the right choice to pursue work in this field. I found myself not only uncertain, but seriously discouraged, and frightened.


In the attempt to make sense of events, I went on social media. Along the way, I was able to connect with friends and colleagues in the industry, and meet new people and get their views on how they see journalism, the media and their work – and see what inspires them. As uncertainty became a constant, so did the search for that perspective and inspiration.

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What you think DOES NOT matter: 5 things your communications staff wants to tell you

NOTE: This blog is an expansion of a speech I gave at “5 Minutes in Hell,” YNPN-TC’s annual event for people who want to practice public speaking (my slides are available on Google Drive and a video of the full speech is at the bottom of this post or on YouTube). For those considering submitting a speaking proposal in future years, I highly recommend it! You won’t find a more supportive practice venue.


There is no one answer to what a communications job looks like, especially when it comes to nonprofits. While large organizations can have entire teams where each person has their own subject area or expertise, small nonprofit organizations often have only one staffer (or part of one) who is responsible for getting the word out about everything the organization does. 

Communicators have all kinds of duties: writing, social media, websites, emails, graphic design, media outreach, among other things. For some organizations, the communications staff is also responsible for development and fundraising, while others house these duties in separate departments.

At our core, however, all communications professionals have the same goals: We want to make sure the people who need our organization’s information get it in ways they understand, and we want to make sure our organization looks good.

These goals can mean that communications professionals care about strange things like fonts and colors and images, and we sometimes say certain words should or should not be used.

In this blog, I am sharing some of the largest “pet peeves” communications professionals have in the hopes that non-communicators can learn and work more effectively with their communications staff, and we can eliminate the communications-programs-development divide.

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It is hard to be a good supervisor: But worth it!

Note: For this blog, I’m using manager and supervisor as synonyms, and they should be viewed as skills implemented and required based on job responsibilities. Your title may say Regional Director of Party Bus Coordinators, but if you have four folks who have to send you their time cards every one to two weeks, you are supervising someone.

In my previous blog, I shared all of the ways it is easy to be a bad supervisor. It’s easy to put your schedule first and demand things be done your way. It’s easy to give limited feedback and just expect your employees to “Make it work!”

Working in the nonprofit sector, people are quick to look at other factors for the reason why people leave their organization and the sector. They can point at the low wages, compassion fatigue, or the need to live up to representative community leadership and ignore that Gallup finds that more than 50% of employees leave their job because of their boss/manager. We need to accept that the nonprofit sector is not immune to having bad supervisors… if anything it is worse.

So what is a supervisor to do? It is hard to be a great supervisor. It is challenging to be open to feedback, to truly listen, to put in the time needed to prepare for check-ins, to stand by difficult decisions, and to give critical feedback in a constructive way to those you supervise.  All of that is very true; in this blog, I want to share some ways it be a great supervisor, and I want to assure you, while it may not be easy, being a great supervisor is worth it.

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It is easy to be a bad supervisor

Note: For this blog, I’m using manager and supervisor as synonyms, and they should be viewed as skills implemented and required based on job responsibilities. Your title may say Associate Director of Regional Bouncy Castle Rental Logistics, but if you have 3 folks who have to send you their time cards every 1 to 2 weeks, you are supervising someone.

It is easy to be a bad supervisor. No seriously, it is way easier to use the positional power to make your supervisee’ lives harder, your organization’s results down, and your staff turnover high and team morale low.

The nonprofit sector has trouble already with competitive wages, compassion fatigue, and the need to live up to representative community leadership, so it can be easy to blame those factors as the reasons folks leave their organization or even the sector. While those are all are real reasons for why folks pop on Linkedin on their lunch break, Gallup finds year after year that more than 50% of employees leave their job because of their boss/manager. The nonprofit sector isn’t immune from this, and, if anything it can be even worse.

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For those times you feel like a fraud

Recently, someone requested a meeting with me to chat about many things—from the nonprofit sector in general, to what the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits does, to ideas he had for the sector that he wanted to run by me. As I sat and waited for him to arrive at our meeting, one thought kept going through my head: ‘He is expecting to meet with an adult, but he’ll get here and see me – a kid (even though I’m 27). What business do I have being here?’ It’s a feeling I know all too well – imposter syndrome.   

According to The American Psychological Association, imposter syndrome “occurs among high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success.”  People will often think their accomplishments are the result of luck – not ability, and often worry that others will expose them as a fraud.

I always assumed these worries I was having were because a) my anxiety gets the best of me or, worse, b) because they were all true. I had no idea this was a legitimate thing. When I realized that these thoughts I was having weren’t actually true, I started to wonder what I could do to shut that voice up. It’s a work in progress, but here are some things I’ve learned that might help you if you’re going through this as well.

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Ignore this professional advice


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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6 things I learned about my career from GRRRL PRTY

main.jpgAs a music lover in the Twin Cities, I’ve been a big fan of GRRRL PRTY and their fun, loud, unapologetic music. GRRRL PRTY is an all-woman rap collective made of Manchita, Sophia Eris, Lizzo, and DJ Shannon Blowtorch. GRRRL PRTY disbanded this summer so you’ll only be able to catch them at rare reunion performances. While you’ve got that GRRRL PRTY x BIONIK album on repeat, check out what I’ve learned from observing the artists of GRRRL PRTY over the last few years:

Note: I don’t know, and have never met, any of the GRRRLs - all of this is based on seeing them in the Twin Cities music scene over the last few years. Their own personal relationships are probably more complex than how it’s presented to fans like me.

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Donate to YNPN Twin Cities

Y tho?

YNPN Twin Cities is an all-volunteer led organization dedicated to providing and promoting opportunities for the development of young nonprofit professionals. 

We strive to be transparent about our budget and how funds will be used. In addition to covering operating expenses, the primary use of funding is to invest back into young Twin Cities nonprofit professionals by:

  • Expanding professional development opportunities like conferences and skill-building workshops
  • Seed funding innovative projects
  • Sustain capacity for current programming

"I feel like I have an army of smart, young professionals backing me up in my endeavors for equal pay and better opportunities.” 

YNPN-TC member 

Donate now to YNPN-TC to help us invest in you and invest in the future of the Twins Cities’ nonprofit sector. 

Consider making a recurring donation to YNPN-TC! Our sustaining donors ensure that we can provide regular programming to young nonprofit professionals. Any amount makes a huge difference. 

Head over to our monthly donation form to become a recurring donor now! 


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