This is part one of my Young Fabulous Nonprofit Leaders Interview Series! We’ve heard there’s a crisis of leadership in the nonprofit sector. Gen Y and Gen X are out for themselves, the kids need to turn that music down! Straighten up! Fly right! Listen to their elders! Well, okay Grandpa. Who are the young nonprofit leaders coming up now? What do they have to say for themselves?
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be interviewing different nonprofit leaders, asking them questions, and hopefully, getting some answers around what the nonprofit sector leadership is going to look like in the next 20 years.
Who are you?
My name is Meredith Maples and I am the Vice President for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) of Austin Board of Directors.
What’s your day job?
I am currently working as the Manager for Learning & Development for the American Cancer Society. I manage all new hire training processes and classroom trainings, e-learning course development, the maintenance and administration of a learning management system and the development of training curricula for a six state territory.
What are you passionate about, personally?
Outside of the nonprofit realm, I can be found either curled up with my dog and a book or chasing Austin wildlife with my camera slung around my neck.
What’s a trend that you see for young nonprofit professionals?
I think that young nonprofit professionals are realizing that they do not necessarily need to sacrifice their personal lives to have a fulfilling and accomplished career. They understand that their jobs will require them to wear numerous hats at once, as many nonprofits have limited staff and resources, and they are more than willing to put in the work necessary to achieve the desired results. That said, they are also allowing themselves to pursue their ideas of a strong work/life balance.
What do you wish older generations understood about Gen X and Gen Y?
Building off my last answer, I think there is a perception from older generations that just because there is a pursuit of work/life balance, that young professionals are not willing to put in their dues. Gen X and Gen Y are both hardworking generations, but they expect a level of balance that many older generations didn’t have the option of achieving.
I believe that people on all sides of the aisle allow stereotypes, whether true or not, to somewhat shape their perceptions of who their fellow co-workers are. While it is good to be aware of generational differences, it’s important to realize that allowing yourself to place any generation into a tidy package will never allow you to truly know the people you are working with.
Do you think that Gen X and Gen Y need to be managed differently in the workplace?
I do believe that there are some characteristics that might require Gen X and Gen Y staff to be managed in a slightly different way. Technology alone has had a huge influence on Gen X and Gen Y and supervisors need to take that into account when managing those employees. Telecommuting, texting, and video conferencing, for example, can all play new and vital roles in managing younger staff. And as mentioned above, work/life balance will need to be accounted for.
Young Nonprofit Professionals Network:Who they are, what they do, why you should join
Q: Why does YNPN exist?
The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Austin exists primarily to connect a community of passionate and diverse non-profiteers in Central Texas by providing valuable platforms to grow and learn through professional development, service and networking opportunities.
Q: Taking a page from the Onion’s AV Club, how does YNPN Justify Its Existence?
The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network is dedicated to nurturing leaders within the nonprofit field. With a growing number of Executive Directors in the position to retire, it is imperative that young nonprofit professionals have access to professional development opportunities. YNPN-Austin is also in a unique situation, as there are approximately 7,000 nonprofits in the greater Austin area alone. We have a tremendous number of nonprofiteers that are able to reap the benefits of networking and professional development opportunities.
Q: What can people gain by becoming members of YNPN?
The biggest tangible benefit that members of YNPN have is access to FREE monthly professional development events. These events feature prominent local leaders and valuable topics, such as Work vs. Graduate School and Generational Leadership. Our members are also invited to our Do Gooder Wednesday happy hours that are held on the third Wednesday of every month. In addition, all members are automatically signed up to receive our Weekly Digest, which is an email containing job and volunteer opportunities, relevant news alerts, as well as information about upcoming community and YNPN events.
What are the Do-Gooder Games?
The Do Gooder Games is an annual event hosted by the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Austin. It features teams of non-profit employees competing against each other in mental and physical challenges for a $500 jackpot to be donated to the charity of their choice. The 2010 Do Gooder Games just took place on September 15 with the title going to Goodwill Industries of Central Texas! They selflessly donated their winnings to Trinity Center, a faith-based organization geared toward serving the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of people experiencing homelessness and poverty in Austin.
Q: Other questions that you wish I had asked?
Where can people get more information on YNPN-Austin? They can visit ynpn.org/austin for information on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities and resources that are relevant to the nonprofit community.
How can people get involved with YNPN-Austin?
To become a member of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Austin, all you have to do is click here.
If you are interested in getting involved with YNPN-Austin by either joining the Board of Directors or volunteering for committee service, please send an email to email@example.com. You can also attend our open house reception on Tuesday, October 12 at 6:00 pm. We would love to see you there!
(Full Disclosure from Mazarine, I am a member of YNPN. All I did was go to their website, and sign up for their free membership. I am not getting paid to highlight them in my blog. They have helped me do a shout-out for my free nonprofit career club once or twice on their list, but that’s it.)