#YNPN16 Reflection: Katie Todd


#YNPN16 Reflection: Jessica Griffin

My first YNPN National Conference was an eye opening experience. The network has had a big year of growth and a great deal of time and energy has been spent to create a collaborative process for local chapters and our national organization going forward.

My biggest take away from our time in Portland is the power of seeing the collective network in one place. Meeting chapter leaders from across the country was fantastic. It is incredibly energizing to talk to other YNPN folks. To hear what they are doing well and what are their opportunities to grow. Their challenges and successes are powerful learning opportunities. It is also a substantial reminder that our organization is a large advocate for the members we serve and has the potential to enact change in our sector.

It was also really wonderful to meet national board leaders and national YNPN staff. As our board's national liaison, the majority of my first eight months on the board has been spent talking through the affiliation agreement, listening to network wide chapter calls, and engaging with folks I hadn't ever met on equity, diversity, inclusion and sustainability issues. To put faces with names and get in some hugs makes the work ahead feel more tangible and in a way, easier.

I'm still feeling excited and energized by the things I learned and the people I was able to meet during #YNPN16. Now to plan out how to best utilize the experience gained to make a impact for our board and our members.

Jessica Griffin is YNPN Triangle NC's National Liaison. Read more about her here.


10 Questions with Alexa Sykes - Manager, Data and Impact, Teach For America

What does a typical day look like for you?

I typically try to start my day with some form of exercise - could be something as laid back as a walk through my neighborhood or something more intense like spin or barre class. After I’ve had a chance to wake myself up (and get my steps in on my FitBit, let’s be honest, that’s the real priority here...), I’ll shower and head into work. On Mondays, and Wednesdays, I travel to Teach For America’s office located in the American Tobacco Campus in Downtown Durham, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays I travel a couple of feet to my home office. Although I’ve been with TFA for two years as a recruiter on the National Recruitment Team, I recently switched gears and started a new position as the Manager of Data and Impact on the Eastern North Carolina regional team. This essentially means that I help quantify a lot of the anecdotal evidence that informs our strategies, and make recommendations to our functional team leads to ensure we are executing strong, data-driven tactics to achieve transformational outcomes for our students. How do I do this? A lot of conversations, a lot of surveys, a lot of observational testing, and a lot of collaboration. I am tasked with “telling the story” of our teachers and students in Eastern North Carolina, so it critical for me to understand how we are training our teachers and how they are responding to our training and support, and if our training is directly correlated to improved student outcomes. I’m never really “done” working because the work that I do is so close to my heart - the majority of students that we teach in Eastern North Carolina are African American students who demographics have already placed negative indicators on their life trajectories. As an African American woman who is very aware of structural racism and systemic oppression, I work with urgency to ensure that we are creating an ecosystem that will help them thrive and disrupt a system that was not created for them to do so. But I guess outside of work I absolutely love cooking and hosting friends for dinner at least once a week, spending time with my incredible boyfriend, and planning events for young professionals in the community through the company that we own.

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10 Questions with Shameka Harrington - Part-Time Research Assistant/Part-Time Job Seeker

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day for me now starts bright and early. My job requires me to visit various child care centers in a number of counties, so I’m usually around 3-4 year old children from 8am-5:30pm. While at the centers I observe mealtimes and levels of physical activity as a part of a nutrition-based research study. My job is a temporary position scheduled to end in September, so on days where I’m not spending all day in a center I’m in front of my laptop searching Indeed.com for my next opportunity.

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Community is Everyone

Content sponsored by the Philanthropy Journal

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet with a corporate representative to discuss a potential sponsorship. In order to gain a clear understanding of what we had to offer them, the rep asked a lot of questions about how we currently interact with corporations, and in what capacities. Upon hearing my answers, she told me that I needed to be getting out and letting more corporations know that we exist. Hearing this was a huge shock. In seeking corporations to support my work, it never once occurred to me that corporations needed me to support theirs.

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Momentum with Major Gifts

By Amy Beros, Vice President of Development, Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina and Staci Barfield, Executive Director, Children's Flight of Hope

Nonprofits love to talk about the importance of major donors to their organization’s success but there are few who truly make these donors a priority. Building a major donor program is a lot more than writing a thank you note after a gift to your organization - a major donor program is about intentional connections.

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