Launchpad Fellow Spotlight: Luis Roman
YNPN believes in developing the nonprofit talent necessary to build a just and equitable world. So we’ve developed the YNPN Launchpad Fellows program as a way for talented folks who are interested in building their skills and experience in a very specific area to lend their time and talents to a fast-growing, dynamic organization. Our 2016-2017 Fellows started back in October. Over the next few months, we will be catching up with them to hear about what they've been up to and what they've learned.
This month we'll be hearing from: Luis Roman, our Community Engagement Coordinator!
Q: Who are you and what do you do full-time?
Hello, my name is Luis Roman and I am the Community Engagement LaunchPad Fellow for YNPN. I have been active in the nonprofit sector for the past 10 years – from being an intern to different fellowships, employee, and a Board member. Most recently, I was the Community Engagement Associate at Illinois Action for Children, a leading early childhood organization in Chicago. As a Community Engagement Associate, I worked with early childhood providers and other advocates to organize and advocate for policies that support children and working families. I am now working for the City of Chicago on different policy initiatives to improve the lives of all residents of Chicago, especially those that are often in the margins. I am super excited about this new opportunity.
Even though I am no longer employed full-time by a nonprofit, I am on the Board of a volunteer-led nonprofit focused on the LGBTQ Latino community. For this organization, I am the Advocacy Chairperson, so I lead the organization’s public policy and advocacy priorities, and our community education campaigns.
Q: How did you first hear about YNPN? What attracted you to the fellowship?
I first became active with the YNPN Chicago chapter. I actually heard about the local chapter in a nonprofit newsletter. YNPN Chicago was hosting a networking event. It was sort of serendipitous because I had just made a promise to myself that I would be more intentional about networking and making new friends. I asked a colleague to join me, and we both had an absolutely amazing time. A few months later, in one of the YNPN Chicago newsletter, they announced the YNPN Launchpad Fellowship, and I thought it was a great opportunity to grow as a leader and learn more about YNPN, and several months later, here we are. What attracted me to the fellowship was the opportunities to learn new skills, connect with young professionals across the country, and really shape the nonprofit sector to continue to build strong leaders.
Q: What are you responsible for at YNPN? What have you been working on?
As the Community Engagement Fellow, my primary role is to connect our members across the country to the different opportunities at YNPN. Because YNPN is in an evolving moment, my work these past few months have been about finding new opportunities to enhance all of our members experience with YNPN. I’ve been managing the Membership Think Tank – to think about the current gaps that exist in our membership process, and to find creative solutions with our chapter leaders; I am also staffing our Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee. I absolutely love working with our members. We have an amazing group of leaders, systems builders, movers and shakers, and we are constantly changing the world.
Q: What are you looking forward to in the last few months of the fellowship?
I am super pumped for the YNPN Conference. As I mentioned, I have been working with our members in some of these committees, but most of it has been through the phone, conference calls, and cyber hangouts, so I am excited to finally meet the leaders in person.
I am excited about the great work that the EDI committee is doing. We are having very powerful conversations, and with everything happening in our country, now is a perfect time. We need to raise the voices of people of color, of queer and trans* individuals, of women, and all those people that often marginalized.
Q: Let’s hear more about you. What do you do outside of the office? How do you relax/have fun?
While the type of work that I do would suggest that I may be an extrovert, I am definitely more of an introvert. Outside of work and other commitments, I like to stay indoor and find TV shows that I can binge watch. I also love to read, especially historical novels, but more specifically historical mystery novels. As an undergrad, I took a course at UCLA where we had to write a social justice mystery novella, and ever since then, I’ve been hooked on the whodunit. Unfortunately, most of my family lives in California, so I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like. But whenever there is an opportunity, you’ll find me in sunny Los Angeles probably eating out with family and friends.
Q: Any last words?
I am so grateful for this wonderful opportunity. I had no idea that one networking event would open the door to so much. While I am a little sad about the fellowship coming to an end in just a few months, I am fortunate that I had this experience. I am most thankful for the new friends I’ve made along the way. And while our Fellowship will be coming to an end, I know I am going to continue to support the great work that YNPN does.
Luis Roman is passionate about grassroots organizing, building collective power to put families and children first. Prior to Illinois Action for Children, Luis was a Uniting America Fellow with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and Lambda Legal – where he worked to build bridges between immigrants and the LGBTQ community. Luis is also on the Board of Directors for the Association of Latino/as Motivating Action (ALMA), a Chicago-based LGBTQ Latino advocacy and education organization. He is also a participant in the inaugural Multicultural Leadership Academy led by the Latino Policy Forum. In June 2013, the Windy City Times awarded Luis as one of the “30 under 30” leaders in the Chicago area. Luis attended UCLA, where he was a Ronald E. McNair Research Scholar, and a recipient of the Chancellor’s Service Award. You can contact Luis at firstname.lastname@example.org.