I am a Young Executive Director and Loving It!

I’ve been on a blog hiatus because my life has been flowing in a new direction. I started a new part time job at a local education fund.  I love public education and consider it an honor to work on behalf of students and teachers in urban education.

Here is the short version of how I became a nonprofit Executive Director:

I began my professional career in the nonprofit sector in the early 2000s.  I did research for a grant funded program. The people working in the program ended up hiring me.  I was one of 2.5 people in an office that served a network of over 500 youth serving organizations.  If you’re looking to excel in the nonprofit world, I highly recommend working for a network of some sort.  The relationships that you build will serve you professionally and personally.

Then one day I called the largest local funder to set up a meeting.  In that meeting I learned more about the local community foundation and was encouraged to write a grant.  I wrote the grant and received the largest grant to date given by that foundation.

The network I worked at served a school district. One of the things I worked on was financial sustainability, thus the grant writing. I co-wrote a large federal grant and the school district received the grant. A grant administrator was needed. I applied and was hired as the grant administrator.

Fast forward several months and the Vice President of the community foundation calls me to let me know there is an open position.  I interview and accept the position.

Then, the President leaves, my boss, the person who hired me leaves, board members leave and the organization that I worked for was on shaking ground. I stuck it out until the new CEO arrived. It wasn’t the organization I first joined any more and my values were set for a different direction.

I did scanned regional nonprofit jobs but at the end of the day the work I wanted to be doing wasn’t available in the form of a job. I didn’t exactly want to move and I didn’t want my soul to get the life sucked out of it in my position. I did a significant amount of soul searching. Got clear about my skills and what made me happy.

Then I made the leap…into consulting. I love it. I don’t regret taking a part time job. In fact, where I work now previously hired me as a consultant. I even get to do some of the same things I do as a consultant. I also get to focus a lot more on building up the strengths of one organization. I find this focus helps me as a consultant.

Here I am, in my early 30s and I am the Executive Director of a small nonprofit organization with a budget around $500,000. I get to work with really great volunteer board and committee members and staff. The donors I work with care deeply about helping kids. Most importantly to me, at the end of each day I’m happy and love what I do so much that I can’t wait to wake up and see what tomorrow brings.

What career changes have you made as a result of deep personal development?



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