By Nevena Cvijetic, YNPN Member
YNPN member Nevena Cvijetic, also on the Membership Committee and volunteers for the YNPN Newsletter, took some time out of her busy schedule to interview one of our members, Aldrich Simon, for our new column in the newsletter, the YNPN Member Spotlight.
It was great to sit down with one of YNPN’s fresh faces, Aldrich Simon, to get to know him and have him share a bit about himself. Willing to step away and and be interviewed between his role as a Childhood Nutrition Program Coordinator at Three Square and a myriad of other projects he does, I got to know a lot about Aldrich.
He was born in the Philippines and made the trek to Las Vegas when he was 14 years old. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and works at Three Square. Aldrich is a busy guy! His job entails community outreach, monitoring and compliance for his company. This means he is out in the community and in the office on any given day. He interfaces with schools and their programs that support meals for kids and families both after school, on the weekends and over the summer. Aldrich isn’t all work! He likes Netflix like the rest of us, a good book, hiking and karaoke!
Nevena: Aldrich, what inspired you to become a part of the nonprofit community?
Aldrich: I was an Engelstad Scholar Intern from 2010 to 2014 at Three Square. The scholarship helps students pay for school while the students volunteer 50 hours of their time to a nonprofit per semester. You could say that I kind of slipped into the world of nonprofits. I enjoyed doing something meaningful and fulfilling. You know what you do affects people in a positive manner in their everyday lives. Right now I’m working with hunger related issues, but I feel like any kind of service that improves the overall well being of a community as a whole is important.
Nevena: What advice would you give somebody who’s thinking about joining YNPN?
Aldrich: As an individual that’s just starting their career in the nonprofit world, it is important to understand the world around you and there is no better way to get to know that world than by joining organizations such as YNPN. I wanted to do something different outside of work and to network within the nonprofit community. YNPN is creating a connection among nonprofit professionals and being part of that helps teaches you just how connected the nonprofit community really is.
Nevena: How has being a member of YNPN benefited you?
Aldrich: Since joining this January, I’ve gotten a chance to attend various networking events while getting an opportunity to meet people that share the same passions as I do.
Nevena: Moving forward, what direction would you like to see for YNPN?
Aldrich: I want us to grow in membership so that we can create a network that will help build a stronger community.
By Kirsten DiNicola, YNPN Board Secretary
How does one become a leader? How does one know if they are a leader? Can you learn to be a leader or is this something your born with? I found myself asking these questions at one point in my career. Let me clarify, I am not asking how does one get to a place where they are the boss, rather someone who creates a relationship with the people around them through inspiration and encouragement. How does someone become a leader that inspires, supports and shows others what they have within them so that others can feel fulfilled in what they do?
Over the past couple of years of my career in the human service field, I realized I wanted to impact differently than I had been. Rather than the direct work with clientele I had been doing for years, I began training professionals in my organization. Working within the human service field is important and I value making sure that those who are going to sustain it are skilled, knowledgeable and feel confident and good in what they do. While I realized I was chosen for this position, I remember questioning, would I be good at it? Would I be a leader others needed? It was what I had wanted and believed in and now I had to be responsible with it. But how do I become a leader? The truth was I didn’t know where to begin to hone in new skills. At that time, I didn’t have anyone in my network I could ask to be a mentor and my organization didn’t offer professional development opportunities. Most of the training's or conferences I found within my profession were focused on how to do the job well. Having greater skill and ability in what you already do, does not a leader make! I wanted to learn leadership skills! I felt a bit alone and I was thirsty for knowledge. I spent some time wasted and waiting for advice from people that never really came. Here I was saying “I am ready, someone teach me”, but no one did and I felt a little frustrated.
In my head, I filed through professionals I worked with, filtering out the qualities I saw in them that were leadership worthy and some things I needed to make sure I didn't repeat! I decided to take charge like a leader would and look for resources outside of what was going on at work. I realized shortly, this was a quest that every leader embarked on: finding resources that support you to support others, encourage and help inspire them.
All of this was happening around the time I had just started listening to podcasts, I was a late bloomer in that realm! I had stumbled across a podcast about leadership and so I began listening. I felt as if these professionals speaking into a microphone, recording a talk, knew exactly what I was looking for! My previous thoughts were confirmed, no one was going to sit me down and tell me how it was done and just modeling myself after someone else wouldn’t help me be complete. Leadership is an art. There are different kinds of leadership and different situations that call for different types of leaders. I had to learn on my own through courage and practice to see just what type of leader I could be. The podcast introduced me to more podcasts, books and webinars. There is no one size fits all and no one instruction on how to be a good leader. I began to practice the lessons I had learned through my listening and reading. I began to handle conflict differently, understand and work within the dynamics of teamwork and succeed at managing up! The practice of a leader was ongoing. I would succeed, then I would stumble, I would pick myself back up, try some more succeeding and stumble again. Succeeding and stumbling, succeeding and stumbling, the cycle continued (are you catching on to that part). Eventually, my stumbles became a bit more graceful!
While I once stopped to question how I would know if I was a leader, I haven’t really stopped to question it since, though I am always still practicing. What has become more important to me is that the professionals that I work with feel supported, encouraged and inspired to work in a field that is so important.
When I began this quest for knowledge, I had received advice along the way: to always say yes to every opportunity that crossed my path, I would be able to learn so much more, so I did. I began to involve myself in opportunities around volunteer work, strategic planning, fundraising and supported events for the public. It was all practice and doing! About a year ago I was introduced to the Young Nonprofit Professional Network and an opportunity to sit on the board of directors. I took it. I was nervous, but I knew that if I was going to be the leader I wanted to be, I would have to take a chance. I am glad I did.
I am always practicing and searching for new skills to acquire in my leadership, great leaders are. Leaders don’t ever “arrive”, they are always seeking new knowledge, challenging themselves and learning from others. We would love to hear about your leadership journey. If you are just beginning your career or you have lead others for a while now, perhaps you have a struggle you have overcome or success that you know would inspire others, YNPN calls you to action to lead through sharing in our Newsletter!
If you are interested, here are a couple of recommendations to get you started on a leadership journey:
Book: Leaders Eat Last, by Simon Sinek
Podcast: Coaching for Leaders, www.coachingforleaders.com
We want to hear about practices, experiences and tips that have helped you to become a good leader. Maybe you have a book to recommend, or you are a podcast geek like me and have a great recommendation. Whatever the case, we want to hear from you so we can highlight it and share the support with all YNPN members. Take a chance and be a leader for your peers, share your experience in the next YNPN Newsletter. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Newsletter.
Leave us your thoughts about what being a YNPN member is and how it can be improved. Be honest so we can make a difference in your career, life and community.
Hello all you lovely YNPNer's!
We have scheduled the first event of the year! Based on our member survey feedback, we have planned a guided nature walk to get everyone away from their desks and into nature for a few hours!
March 19th, 2016
Clark County Wetlands Park
7050 E. Wetlands Park Lane
Las Vegas, NV 89122
Meet at the Nature Center
Light snacks will be provided but make sure you bring water and wear comfortable shoes/clothes.
Join Other YNPN Members as we:
-Learn about the beautiful Clark County Wetlands Park
-Meet other members
-Take a break from hectic schedules for some self care
YNPN Board members gathered in January to create a vision and plan for the 2016 year. Check out the resulting STRATEGIC PLAN that outlines the areas of focus for the year: Professional Development, Personal Development, Mentorship, Membership and Operations.
Feel free to contact any board member for more details or options to volunteer!
Have you ever gone to a conference and not really gone away with anything actionable you can take home and share with your team?
Well the 2015 YNPN National Conference in Little Rock Arkansas was the complete opposite of that!
We sent 5 board members to represent Southern Nevada at the National Conference and we are just busting at the seams to share with all of you the information we learned. Throughout the year we will be hosting coffee sessions where you can come and spend an hour or two with a board member and discuss a specific topic such as: All Things YNPN, Social Media, Government Relations, Fundraising, and more.
One of our biggest take-a-ways from the conference was that YNPN is a place for all of us to practice skills we want to develop. This is a safe space where we don’t have to be afraid to fail, as long as we learn from it and are “failing forward”. Rome wasn’t built in a day and we don’t expect perfection, just participation. We also want this organization to be your organization! If you want to move into fundraising and don’t have the experience to put it on your resume yet, contact us, we will help you put a campaign together for YNPN. Maybe you are interested in board governance, this is the time to throw your hat in the ring and run for a place on the board. Perhaps you are more creative and developing marketing strategies just make your little heart sing. Whatever it is, we want to help you grow and develop those skills through and with YNPN. If you have a talent to offer or a skill you want to cultivate contact your point person today and take an active role in YOUR YNPN!
Set optimistic goals; things will take as long as you think they will take.
Goals don’t have to be instantaneous.
Keep it simple and get stuff done, your goals don’t have to be new or even clever.
Don’t worry about perfection, better is the enemy of good.
This is serious work we do so take time to Have Fun!
"When the king worked, he really worked. And when he played, he really played” Dr. Seuss
We learned a lot but we also had an amazing time! The National Conference was held at the Clinton School of Public Service, which is adjacent to the William J Clinton Library and Museum and is aligned with the infamous NGO, Heifer International. Talk about collaboration and using the resources you have at hand. We have to say the Little Rock team did an amazing job and we can’t wait for Portland 2016!
Greetings, Colleagues and Friends!
Professionals in Philanthropy is putting on a Storytelling Workshop you won’t want to miss! This is the debut of the Storytelling Division of Professionals in Philanthropy (PiP). Yep! You heard it right. PiP now has an entire division focused on helping you tell your story in a compelling way that moves people to action.Read more
Crazy Spokes bike event teams up with the Aspergers Training, Employment and Life Skills organization. Vendor opportunities are available.Read more
Organizations and individuals can register now to match Board Member opportunities!Read more