I'd like to take the opportunity to thank all of you who've offered your congratulations on this milestone for YNPN and this personal milestone for me. It's been inspiring and fun to see all the tweets, facebook posts and to receive the emails and calls from all of you expressing your excitement for this new position and what it means for YNPN!
First, I wanted to bring you all up to speed on the haps of my first few weeks. Here are some highlights:
- September 13 - turned the YNPN Board Chair reigns over to the capable hands of interim Board Chair, Kim Caldwell
- September 19 - began transitioning into the YNPN Director position as I wrapped up my former position at the Building Movement Project.
- September 22 - got to spend some QT with the dynamic board of YNPN Phoenix chapter while I was out in Arizona for the National Conference on Citizenship. (ps - Have you heard about YNPN Pheonix's annual Tour de Phoenix? It's dope. Check it out!)
- October 1 - on my first official, official day as YNPN Director, I had the good fortune of being at the root of YNPN civilization - San Francisco Bay Area - and met with the YNPN SFBA board. Here's what I came away with: YNPN SFBA is a powerhouse. The 2012 YNPN National Conference that they are hosting is not to be missed. You should be there. More to come.
- October 6 - YNPN got a shoutout in the Chronicle of Philanthropy and Gladys Tchume got something to put on the fridge next to my 8th grade soccer certificate. Big day on many levels.
- October 7-8 - spent two days in Baltimore visioning, reflecting, workplanning, storming, norming, performing, transforming and all other manner of gerund with the YNPN National Board at our biannual board meeting (graciously hosted for the 4th year in a row by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.) Exciting and inspiring. Big things to come, friends.
So what came out of that meeting and what does having a national Director mean for all of us and all of you?
The Big Picture:
- The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network has always played a critical role in developing and retaining talent in the sector. As the challenges facing society deepen, more and more people both within our membership and outside of our membership are looking to YNPN to play an even greater role in these areas.
- As we move forward, we not only want to continue to provide the professional development and networking opportunities that have been our hallmark for the past 15 years, but we want to start shaping a deeper common narrative for our network and the impact that we want to have in the world - What will it take to move towards the more just and equitable society we all hope to acheive? What skills, values, relationships and practices do we need to develop as young professionals in this sector to be able to work towards this more equitable world AND sustain ourselves for the long haul? How can we leverage the strength of our network to influence broader conversations about what the sector can do to achieve it's social mission?
- We'll be applying our best thinking and strategizing to the issue of network infrastructure! As recently as last week, lively discussions about revisiting our tax status were bubbling on this list about revisiting our tax status - c3 v. c6. This question is part of an exciting, much larger conversation that will be a central focus for the coming year. The current YNPN network model works and, for the most part, works well. But we have the power to be so much more nimble, connected and impactful as a network once we have greater clarity about the relationship between national and chapters, once have a better sense of when, how and how often we communicate, and once we have the infrastructure both in terms of technology and in terms of process to support a stronger model. Over the next 12 months, our chief goal will be to gather input from each of you through various channels (including in-person forums held in cities across the network!) in order to shape the best model for our network infrastructure moving forward. I'm couldn't be more excited to see what we'll come up with together!
- YNPN will have a stronger voice in sector-wide conversations! In just a couple of weeks, we will be releasing our second-ever National Voice report based on data provided by all of you and your members. Over the next year, I will be carrying the message of this report (and the message that YNPN can and should be at the table for sector-wide conversations) to conferences, panels, online chats and one-on-one meetings with stakeholders. As you heard in last Friday's email from our National Voice committee, YNPN National will also be providing YOU and YOUR CHAPTERS with the materials and training necessary for you to be able to advocate at the local level for stronger leadership development across the sector.
We will be able to provide stronger support for chapters! We'll be continuing with the webinars, chapter level calls and the chapter engagement plan that connects you directly with reps from the National board. But this year, you'll see added benefits like:
- new and improved features of the annual conference
- deeper, direct engagement with affiliate chapters
- a new chapter levels guide, enhanced based on your feedback
- better data collection and dissemination to help you understand the network and your chapter's place in it
- as well as increased offerings on the web platform (like the new intranet and a revival of the best practices resource center)
And this is only the beginning. I'm looking forward to spending the next year focusing inward on the network so we are in the best possible position to continue to raise the profile and increase the impact of YNPN in the years to come. I thank you in advance for your enthusiasm, your hard work, your cooperation and frankly, your faith, in us as a network moving forward. I know extraordinary things will come of it.
Looking forward to connecting with you along the way,