Moving on with gratitude

Aug 6, 2012 by

After two great years, I’m wrapping up my YNPNdc leadership position. It’s time to pass the torch onto others who can help lead YNPNdc to even greater things. But just like a lot of transitions, this one is bitter-sweet.

I’ve learned so much since I started with YNPNdc: organizational operations, board operations, maximizing content across multiple communications channels, working with others (especially when you have no power or authority over them), and so much more. I’ve made so many great friends that I know will be there for me in the years ahead; these same people are outstanding professionals in their own right and having them in my professional network will be valuable in the future as we all move into leadership positions in our organizations. I know that I’ve grown as a person and a nonprofit professional from this experience and I believe I’ve been able to help others grow as well.

On the other hand, I’m excited to reclaim a large chunk of time to use in different ways. I’m happy that my email volume will be reduced (by a lot) and that I’ll be able to really focus on other things that matter to me. And my husband is happy that I’ll be home more :).

So what’s next?

For a while, I think I’ll take advantage of the extra time by reading and catching up on some of the household and life chores that I’ve been putting off (for instance: the nearly one-year-old pile of stuff to put in my wedding scrapbook). Then I want to follow my own advice and develop a plan for growing my career coaching business significantly in terms of number of clients, type of work and financial gain.

And in a year or two I would like to join a board again; this time, I’d like a position on a strategic/advisory board as opposed to a working board (which is what YNPNdc’s is). There are so many great nonprofits in the DC metro area and I can’t wait to work with one or more of them!

I can’t express enough how grateful I am to the other leaders of YNPNdc – especially the communications committee – for welcoming me into the fold two years ago and letting me grow and learn with them. It’s been such a fun and rewarding experience and I can’t recommend it more highly to all of you out there.

Thanks for the memories YNPNdc!


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The Quick and Dirty Guide to Standing Out in the Workplace

May 21, 2012 by

On Friday, May 18, I presented a session at the 2012 YNPNdc Annual Conference (hashtag = #ynpndc12) titled “The Quick and Dirty Guide to Standing Out in the Workplace.” My fellow colleagues from the YNPNdc Communications Committee live tweeted/blogged the session, as well as many others. The tweets from my session are below and you can find the full record of live blog posts on YNPNdc’s blog NETWORKdc.



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Mentor the Future of the Nonprofit Sector

Jan 30, 2012 by

As I’ve mentioned before, I am part of the leadership team of The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of DC (YNPNdc). It’s a fantastic organization. One of our newest initiatives is a mentoring program for YNPNdc Professional Members. I believe that everyone has a duty to mentor other nonprofits leaders so I wanted to share this opportunity with you and encourage you to sign up as a mentor today!

YNPNdc invites you to join our Mentoring Program launch as a Mentor for our growing group of Professional Members. Our Professional Members work for a diverse set of organizations in the DC area and are committed to advancing their careers and the sector through growing their network and learning from experienced nonprofit professionals like you.

The Commitment

We ask that you join a 90-minute online Mentoring Roulette session the evening of March 1 to chat with potential mentees, lend advice during several 8-minute chat sessions with various participants, and determine your interest in continuing a mentoring relationship with mentees you meet following the online session. Sharing contact information is at your discretion.

Throughout the month of March, YNPNdc will coach the mentees on expectations and how to get the most out of a mentoring relationship. If you have secured one or more mentee relationships following the online session, these participants will be guided through their experience with you to ensure realistic expectations and to maximize mentee learning.

You will also be invited to join us in celebrating this first mentoring series on March 28 with an in-person networking happy hour for mentors and mentees. It will be up to you and your mentee(s) if you would like to continue the mentoring relationship after March 28.

To Learn More and Sign Up

Please see the Mentoring Program Info Page on YNPNdc’s website to learn more and sign up now as a YNPNdc Mentor by February 29.

If you have questions, please contact YNPNdc’s membership team.

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Charting Your Path to Nonprofit Board Service (from #YNPNdc11)

Jun 3, 2011 by

Another compilation post from my live tweets at the YNPNdc Annual Conference! We’re having a happy hour tonight at Bar Louie in Chinatown @6pm – join us!

The session: Charting Your Path to Nonprofit Board Service


  • Moderator: Brian Flahaven, Director of Government Relations, CASE
  • Panel:
    • Emily Gibbs-Davis, Manager, Corporate and Agency Services, Volunteer Fairfax
    • Patric Sanders, Board Leadership Program Coordinator, Greater DC Cares
    • Alexis Terry, Director, Diversity and Inclusion, ASAE

Why are you in this session?

  • Want to learn how to get on a board
  • How to be effective board member
  • Find the right board

How did you find a board to join?

  • “Legacy” seats – the seat came with a staff position (person was expected to sit on the board)
  • Pursued a board seat actively – searched online, asked friends, etc.
  • Invited directly to participate by an existing board member of another organization

Roles of the board

  • Provide strategic vision and direction
  • Ensure necessary resources are available for the organization – monetary and staffing resources
  • Provide oversight on budget and finances

Surprising fact! Out of 1.5 mill nonprofits, only 2% of board members are under 30 even though 75% serve that demograhic

What can young people bring to a board?

  • Passion for the mission
  • A fresh perspective on old/existing issues
  • Patience with existing board members who have been dealing with problems for a long time

How can you find board opportunities?

  • Training programs like the one provided by Greater DC Cares
  • Volunteer in other ways with organizations to learn more
  • Network with others and ask then for board contacts

Before you decide to join a board

  • Look at your calendar to see what you have time to actually do – being on a board takes time (and usually money)
  • Do your research – what kind of board is it? Who is already on the board? What is the give/get requirement?
  • Ask for a job description of the board role as well as for the bylaws – review it all!

How to be an effective board member

  • Show fellow board members respect in the way they want to see (not the way you’d like to see it)
  • Attend social events or related board events with your fellow board members – you will miss out on key conversations

Why do panelists like board service?

  • More responsibilities that their jobs require
  • New experiences & challenges
  • Cross-sector networking
  • Provides a new perspective on your day job
  • Learn what goes into difficult board decisions
  • Professional development

Questions and answers

  • How do you manage a sticky or even unethical board situation?
    • A: Apply problem solving skills
    • Assume good intentions but not good governance
    • Focus on bylaws or process (especially when board terms expire) to get around people who are difficult
  • What are the legal & financial requirements of board members?
    • A: Duty of care, loyalty and obedience
    • Have to be up front with conflicts of interest
    • Have contract liability
    • Have to show up & be engaged
    • You are responsible to other board members – you’re a team!
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Becoming a Networking Master (from #YNPNdc11)

Jun 3, 2011 by

I’m here at the YNPNdc Annual Conference, attending fantastic sessions on everything from networking and positive psychology to board service and technology. As part of the YNPNdc, I’m live-tweeting sessions all around and wanted to compile some of the tweets into a quick blog post. To follow all the live tweets, check out the hashtag #ynpndc11

Here are the details from “Becoming a Networking Master: Making the Most of In-Person Events and Creating Your Own Online Brand” with presenters Caitlin Fisher of Hellerman Baretz Communications and Jung Lim from The Washington Center.

What is Networking and why should you do it?

  • Part of your ongoing career development; building relationships; developing alliances; ongoing communications
  • When networking, think about the skills, knowledge that you can offer to others; its not just about getting something from others
  • Networking is not a popularity contest nor is it a bitch session – it supposed to be mutually beneficial

How to build your network

  • Start  with educational contacts, personal & work contacts
  • Volunteer with nonprofit organizations
  • Do informational interviews with people in your field
  • Other ways to build your network: career fairs, events, panel presentations (like the YNPNdc Conference!), online contacts including LinkedIn and other social networks

3 stages of networking

1) Getting started

  • Assemble self-marketing materials including resume, reference list, online presence (LinkedIn profile, etc.), business cards
  • Join a professional organization like @YNPNdc
  • Take action – go out and find the party!
  • Find the party – go to @YNPNdc happy hours, Biznow events, DC Chamber of Commerce, etc.

2) At the event

  • Put your name tag at eye level, dress for success, bring business cards
  • Food & drink
    • Eat beforehand so you don’t spend the entire event at the food table
    • Watch out for bad breath at networking events! Honestly: stinky food and breath is a turn off
    • Try not to drink too much (alcohol) at a networking event – you don’t want to get sloppy in front of new networking contacts
  • Have a 15 second elevator speech about what you do or what you’re looking to do
  • Elevator speech includes name (loud and clear), your job or career identity, the ‘so what’ – what you’re doing, what you’re looking for, why they should be interested
  • Create a more extended version of your greeting: the power greeeting which includes your area of interest, your credentials, experience, what you like to do.
  • Conversation starters: ask people about themselves, ask them about the space/location of the happy hour or their job
  • Know when to end the conversation – use a white lie to get out of it if you need to
  • Being an active listener is more important than being nervous about what to say

3) Relationship building

  • Get in touch quickly (2 days max), connect via email/phone/social networking
  • Remind them who you are & how you met; try to remember personal details
  • Gently indicate why you want to keep in touch – is there a business connect? opportunities to collaborate? mentoring?
  • Do NOT rule out any contacts no matter what their industry
  • Keep an eye on people’s profiles on LinkedIn and directly reach out to them about new jobs, articles posted, events, etc.
  • Go out of your way to be a resource to your network so that when you need something, they’ll respond
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