ProInspire's blog is moving

Thank you for following ProInspire's blog.  We have recently changed our blogging platforms. In an effort to consolidate our web presence, we will no longer be maintaining this blogspot and will be using proinspire.org/blog.

If you previously subscribed to our blog updates, you should have received an automated email asking you to confirm your subscription to our new blog platform at proinspire.org/blog. You will now receive weekly email digests that keep you up-to-date on everything ProInspire, including news about our fellows, alumni, partners and relevant nonprofit career resources. Should you choose to unsubscribe, you may do so at the bottom of the email message. 

Thank you again for your interest and support of ProInspire.  Please help us spread the word about our blog to your friends and network, by encouraging them to subscribe at proinspire.org/blog.

Upcoming Webinar: How to Transition Into the Social Sector


OVERVIEW
Join us for a free webinar with social sector professionals who will discuss their experience transitioning into the social sector. Speakers come from various backgrounds and currently work in leading nonprofit organizations within the fields of international development, impact investing, public education, and more.

When? Thursday, April 4th
Who should attend? Young professionals interested in transitioning to the social sector.
How to register? RSVP here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5962644210108870400 

PRESENTERS

Britni Stinson
Baltimore City Public Schools, Financial Strategist

Britni Stinson is a ProInspire Fellow at Baltimore City Public Schools, working to support project management through strategic planning initiatives in Finance. Britni has an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and has worked at Standard and Poor’s as an Equity Research Analyst and McMaster-Carr Industrial Supply Company as a Project Manager, providing analytical support, people and project management. Britni took the opportunity to bridge her passion between business and education by joining Education First (EF), a global education company, creating and implementing projects for volume and profitability within the company’s products focused on providing international education experiences beyond erudition.

Outside of work, Britni is committed to serving underrepresented communities both domestically and abroad. She directed the Youth Employment Summer (YES) Program in Harlem, NY where she developed a program that combined paid internships with professional development and corporate sponsorship for high school students from Taft Public Housing Projects. Internationally, Britni supports water well building in Jos, Nigeria and has served as a liaison to iEARN working to implement projects in Slovakia, Hungary and London to address educational inequality. Britni holds the belief that nothing is more important than giving everyone access to the best education possible.

Andrew Wu
Single Stop USA, Special Projects Associate

Andrew is a ProInspire Fellow at Single Stop USA, a national organization that helps families and students obtain access to existing public resources and critical services in order to increase their economic mobility. As the Special Projects Associate he will be working across the organization on a variety of strategic projects including the expansion of funding support in California, the development of new digital marketing strategies and tactics, and the creation of new collaboration and training methods for Single Stop sites. Prior to joining Single Stop, Andrew spent two years in management consulting with PwC (formerly Diamond Management & Technology Consultants) in Chicago. He primarily worked with clients in the healthcare industry to help them better leverage social media and other digital channels.

Andrew also brings experience from the social sector with internships at OnePacific Coast Bank, a community development bank in Oakland, and Sparkseed, an incubator for college students leading social enterprises. Andrew graduated with a degree in economics and history from Northwestern University. He enjoys watching the Golden State Warriors and trying new restaurants with delicious food.

Suzanne Adatto 
City First Enterprises, Program Associate

Suzanne Adatto is a Program Associate at City First Enterprises, an incubator of community development finance solutions in Washington D.C. Suzanne conducts research on impact investing policy and strategies. She is responsible for developing an online mission-based lending platform and contributes to the organization’s development and communications. Prior to joining CFE, Suzanne was an Analytical Lead at Google, where she worked with tech start-ups, national restaurant chains, and progressive issue advocacy campaigns to develop digital strategies. At Google Suzanne also designed and implemented a national program to accelerate minority-owned businesses growth using online tools.

Suzanne’s prior experience includes work in voter registration and political organizing with the Oregon Bus Project, and academic research at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Suzanne has volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Washtenaw County Michigan, and with Kiva Detroit. Suzanne graduated with honors from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Political Science and English. She hails from the best city in the world, Portland, Oregon.

2011 ProInspire Fellow: Marian LeitnerMarian Leitner
GAVI Alliance, Innovative Finance Analyst

Marian Leitner was a ProInspire Fellow at GAVI Alliance, a unique public-private partnership that develops and supports innovative ways to increase immunization in developing countries. As an Innovative Finance Analyst, Marian is the project coordinator for the Matching Fund for Immunization, a new financial instrument designed to diversify revenue streams and engage the private sector for increased advocacy. Prior to joining GAVI, Marian spent two years as a Strategy & Innovation Analyst at AXA-Equitable in New York. As a Strategy & Innovation Analyst, Marian created a cross-functional task force to tackle entrenched organizational problems, and to develop business plans in key strategic areas. She is also the Co-Founder, and Publisher of Explosion-Proof Magazine, a literary quarterly based in Brooklyn, New York. Marian graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor of International Studies.

Post Fellowship: Marian stayed at GAVI Alliance and is focused on building private-public partnerships for the Matching Fund.

ABOUT USProInspire is building the next generation of nonprofit leaders by expanding the talent pipeline, developing professionals, and increasing diversity. We are passionate about: accelerating social impact by providing high quality talent and professional development to the social sector, helping organizations and individuals achieve their potential for social impact, and leveraging best practices to catalyze outstanding performance.

Answers from a ProInspire Fellow: Three Questions About the Fellowship Experience

By 2012 ProInspire Fellow Elisa Chen

Over the past few weeks I've received questions from friends who are considering applying to become a ProInspire Fellow. While we provide a list of FAQs on our website, I was happy to offer my own perspective on the Fellowship experience. Allow me to share my responses to three of the questions I've been asked that you won't find answered elsewhere on the website.


1. After going through this program, do you think it's really worth it? (i.e. taking a year off to do this program, as opposed to another program that is out there)
I absolutely think it was worth taking a year off to take part in ProInspire. I'm not sure if it would have been possible for me to obtain the position I have with my current organization. I am working with C-level suite people with a high level of responsibility and accountability that I would have had a rare possibility to have as an entry level person in this sector.

I'm not aware of another program like ProInspire that specifically targets helping those wanting to transition from the private sector into strategic roles in the public sector. The cohort of ProInspire fellows in your class is another incredibly important component of this program. The caliber of people in the Fellowship is unparalleled, with many of them coming from highly regarded private sector companies and/or going to top tier business schools post-fellowship; more importantly, these are like-minded people who share the same passion as you and are in the same point in their lives as you. For me, the fellows are people that I see as friends for a lifetime who I share similar interests with, bounce ideas off of, go catch a drink with whenever and even consider being entrepreneurial partners with in future endeavors.

I would also say that ProInspire, like many other experiences, will be what you make out of it -- in other words, what you put into it is what you will get out of it. I try to take advantage of my time here in DC, at my organization and in my new environment, learning as much as possible, establishing new networks, etc. What this meant to me was putting myself in a lot of new and sometime uncomfortable situations to get my out of my comfort zone. This year, I have met with friends of friends, strangers and professional networking groups. I have participated in new hobbies/activities, taken Arabic classes and joined online courses. I have taken on pro bono consulting roles with non-profits and volunteer roles for refugee programs. All of these things were not provided directly by ProInspire but the program did provide me the network of people in areas I am interested in and/or have provided me the opportunity to live in an environment (DC!) where I could try new activities and meet vastly different people/networks.

2. How has this affected you and what you want to be doing in the future? Or do you see this more of a 1-year experience where you learn a lot?
I see this year as the perfect opportunity to transition into the public sector/nonprofit world. Through ProInspire, I have realized my skills from management consulting are absolutely applicable in the public sector and moreover, a skill set much needed. While being able to apply these skills, I've learned how to utilize them in a different context. And while learning to utilize my skills differently, I've also learned a tremendous amount about international development from my organization, which is what I am interested in pursuing.

Since I work in the Strategic Planning and Analysis team in my organization, I've been fortunate to have the purview of pretty much all areas/departments of the organization and understand the basics of how the organization and each of those departments/areas operates. This has helped me understand what areas I may be interested in pursuing within international development organizations and somewhat narrow down what areas I'd like to pursue. Of course, there is still much to explore, learn and narrow down.

3. What are some of the challenges you have faced while doing this program and while being in D.C.?

Some of the challenges I've faced include:
  • Learning to live without a car - Being from Houston, public transportation is pretty non-existent. Now I've learned to only buy what I can carry home, better time management in commuting to places, maximizing my time with just a few activities (really enjoying them and doing the well) instead of doing so many activities (since it was easier with a car) and overall, I think learning to live a much simpler life which I appreciate. 
  • Deciding what I want to do after my fellowship - As much as ProInspire and my current job has helped guide me in what I want to do within the public sector, specifically international development, there is still much for me to figure out. Unfortunately, there is new easy formula to follow -- everyone has their different journeys to lead them down their career path. I'm still in the process of figuring it out each day at a time. 
  • Re-establishing a community and network - Like any move to a new place, you're up-rooting yourself from your friends, family and everything that you're used to. Moving to a new place means finding new friends, adjusting to different weather and a new environment, and starting a new pattern in your life. Thankfully, with ProInspire, you have an "instant" network with the fellows who definitely serve as a family of sorts. 

Calling All Young Business Professionals: ProInspire Applications Now Open!

As posted on ProFellow.com

At ProInspire, we are dedicated to building the next generation of nonprofit leaders who will change the world. We are currently recruiting top professionals with 2-5 years of business experience to be a part of our flagship program, the ProInspire Fellowship. This highly competitive program offers targeted positions with leading nonprofits, monthly trainings with a cohort of peers, a coach, and a network to support career growth. Fellows spend one year working in an analytical, operational, marketing or strategic role at a nonprofit organization.

Eligibility: ProInspire conducts a rigorous selection process based on the selection criteria and needs of hiring organizations. Successful candidates will have:
  • A minimum of two years of business experience by August 2013
  • Passion for using their business skills to have a positive impact on society
  • Humility and eagerness to learn
  • Demonstrated initiative, self-direction and a “can-do” attitude
  • Adaptability in ambiguous situations and demonstrated ability to learn quickly
  • Strong analytical, problem solving, and project management skills
  • Willingness to live in the Washington D.C. or the San Francisco Bay Area area for the program
Fellowship Benefits: Fellows participate in orientation, a mandatory Fellows retreat, monthly workshops, coaching, and leadership development projects. Fellows also receive career/graduate school support. After the program, Fellows stay in the social sector, find other career opportunities, or attend graduate school. Annual compensation of $45,000 and health benefits are provided by the hiring organization.

Application Deadline: Candidates applying for April start dates should submit their application through our website by Friday, February 1, 2013. Candidates applying for August start dates should submit their application by Friday, March 1, 2013 for priority consideration. Learn more about our program by joining one of our information calls and apply online.

Five Strategies to Becoming the Employer You Want to Be

by ProInspire Board Member Pratichi Shah



“What kind of employer do you want to be?”

There may be no more important question when positioning an organization for future success. Buteau and Gopal pose the question explicitly in Employee Empowerment: The Key to Foundation Staff Satisfaction, and their findings challenge us to focus on it while building and managing our organizations. In the same way that we create a value proposition for those we serve, we also create a value proposition for each employee we bring into our organizations. The issues highlighted by Buteau and Gopal—of empowerment, communication, and alignment—contribute to a value proposition between employer and employee that lays a foundation for mutual satisfaction, productivity, and success. As the authors note, “satisfaction matters” to performance, to external constituency experience, and, collectively, to organizational impact—the ultimate goal.

So what actions improve and strengthen our employment value proposition? As sector leaders, we need to ensure that talent and employment issues are top of mind and dialogue as we set direction, create strategy, and engage with grantees. The criticality of our workforce in achieving our goals should guide our actions and conversation around talent and culture.

Foundations can impact this externally, by creating dialogue with grantees around talent and employment issues, prioritizing the creation of an enriching employment experience, and supporting organizational efforts around performance and development.

Organizationally, a significant shift in mindset needs to occur regarding our role as employers. This means assessing ourselves and understanding where we are on the issues raised by Buteau and Gopal: empowerment and communications, among others. It also means investment in our employment value proposition. As pointed out in the paper, this need not be an expensive financial investment, rather a “substantial commitment and investment of personal energy on the part of … leaders.”

Click here to continue reading the five achievable strategies that organization leaders can undertake to begin moving their organization down the path to strong employment experience, empowerment, alignment—and ultimately higher productivity and impact.

Five Strategies to Becoming the Employer You Want to Be via The Center for Effective Philanthropy

Introducing 2012 ProInspire Fellow: Elisa Chen



Name: Elisa Chen
Hometown: Duncan, OK
Previous Employer: Accenture
Current Organization: FHI 360

What inspired you to make the switch into the nonprofit sector?
I realized the need to live more actively as a steward in our society, community and the world. With such an endless and complex need in our world, I may not see some of these issues come to an end in my lifetime; however, I think it would be a huge privilege to take part in and contribute to that journey to get there.

What is your current position, and a typical day like?
I am currently a Strategic Planning and Analysis Analyst at FHI 360, an international human development organization. My typical day starts with good French press coffee, checking emails, prioritizing my to-do list and preparing for meetings. Thankfully, no one day is the same at FHI 360 since the recent integration with AED - there has been a strong pipeline of interesting work as a newly, evolving organization. Currently I am working on defining a framework to conduct a return on investment analysis on regional operating models. In addition, I am helping define and implement a business performance management process for the newly integrated organization, specifically in defining a streamlined annual planning and performance tracking process.

What is your professional background and areas of expertise?
At Accenture, I was a Talent and Organizational Performance Manager working in the oil and gas industry in the areas of Organizational Change Management, Training Strategy, Training Development & Delivery, and Organizational Design.

What are you involved in outside of work?
I indulge in my passion for sports by playing in a flag football and basketball league. I’m also taking Arabic classes and volunteering as the Events Coordinator for Young Professional’s in Foreign Policy’s Refugee Assistance Program. I’ve recently decided to take on a pro-bono consulting role to help with organizational design and implementation of a strategic plan for a multilingual legal and social services non-profit for low-income immigrants.

Tell us about your past leadership experiences and how they are helping you in your current role.
As a Management Consultant, much of my work involved applying frameworks to help break down problems for oil and gas companies. The ability break down organizational problems has been a transferable skill in my current role on the Strategic Planning and Analysis team; however, some of the problems and issues faced now are even larger in scale and more intricately connected to other issues, making the challenge more exciting and personally more fulfilling.

What book are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story. Next on my list is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman.

Introducing 2012 ProInspire Fellow: Michael Bielman


Michael Bielman - 2012 ProInspire Fellow
Name: Michael Beilman
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Previous Employer: The Mark Travel Corporation
Current Organization: FHI 360

What inspired you to make the switch into the nonprofit sector?
I have always wanted to work for a non-profit, particularly an in an NGO setting in international development. This interest was spurred by an internship with a Microfinance Institute in rural Ecuador. Upon graduating I applied to many non-profits, think tanks, and NGOs but I found that even getting a follow up phone interview proved challenging. After months of applying to these jobs I decided to pursue work in the private-sector and accepted a position as a business analyst. I value the experience and knowledge I gained through this work, but I always knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to transition these skills to mission driven work as opposed to simply impacting the “bottom line”. When I saw ProInspire’s job listing on Idealist.org I knew this was my opportunity to make the transition.

What is your current position, and a typical day like?
I am a part of the “Strategic Planning and Analysis” team at FHI 360. I typically have at least one meeting if not many more on a daily basis; this makes balancing my workload challenging. What I enjoy about my position is that outside of regular meetings I do not have a “typical” day, each new day provides unique new challenges. This is in stark contrast to my old job which followed a much more rigid structure with the same daily tasks of sending performance recaps and updating or creating automated financial dashboards.

I am involved in three main projects so far: sub-lead for business performance management, drafting competitive analyses and working in a supportive role for our domestic strategy working group, and also supporting a funders and partner’s database project. I am grateful for the opportunity to make an immediate impact and take on projects of varying involvement at various levels of the organization.

Where did you work prior to making the switch?
I was a Business Analyst at The Mark Travel Corporation; supporting Southwest Airlines Vacations, Funjet Vacations, and several other online-travel-agencies (OTAs).

What is your professional background and areas of expertise?
I graduated with a BS in Economics and a BA in Spanish. I am currently pursuing an MSc in Economics through The Johns Hopkins University.

What are you involved in outside of work?
My studies dictate my free time at the moment; but, when I am able to take a break from the textbooks I enjoy exploring D.C. and attending lectures at various forums. In Milwaukee I was involved in Urban and community gardens through two organizations, Growing Power and Sweetwater Organics. These two organizations put Milwaukee at the forefront of Urban agriculture/aquaponics; I look forward to volunteering in this capacity in D.C. I enjoy playing the banjo and I am slowly training for Triathlons next summer.

Tell us about your past leadership experiences and how they are helping you in your current role.
I was involved in competitive swimming from the age of 5 through my entire college career. Through the sport I not only learned invaluable lessons about dedication and balancing workload; but, I also gained leadership and teamwork skills. I have carried these lessons into my professional life.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role?
Everyone always mentions how much Andy Samburg resembles me, so I suppose he would be a great lead role in the story of my life: Life in the Fast-lane : The Life and Times of Michael Beilman.

If you won $20 million dollars in the lottery and had to donate it to a social organization - which one would it be, and why?
I would likely donate the money to the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). J-PAL is a network of affiliated professors around the world who are united in their use of randomized evaluations to answer questions critical to poverty alleviation. J-PAL's mission is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence. J-PAL collaborates with governments, NGOs and international development organizations to scale-up programs found to be effective and aims to create a "culture of demanding evidence" to back up policy in the developing world. International development is a multi-billion dollar industry, if we focus our efforts on those programs that are most effective we will realize the potential to eliminate world poverty.

What is your dream career if money was not an option?
High School Teacher and Swim Coach, or the person that selects music for movies.

Where do you hang out in the DC area?
I enjoy studying at Kramerbooks, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) library, and the Library of Congress on occasion. I just relocated to the Petworth neighborhood and I am a big fan of the local restaurants and bars, I also really appreciate what H Street has to offer. I enjoy biking Rock Creek Parkway on the weekends.

What book are you reading right now or what is your favorite book?
I am currently reading Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury & The Price of Inequality by Joseph Stiglitz