As January comes to an end, our incoming and outgoing Board Presidents share their reflections and hopes for implementing our new strategic plan focused on four pillars: Advocacy, Career Readiness, Strategic Collaboration, and Board Service. Within each of these pillars, we are committed to championing Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice (EDIJ). Jump aboard the train with us as YNPN Phoenix moves full speed ahead into 2021!
Reflections from the Incoming YNPN Phoenix President – Adrian Jamieson
Transitioning into a new leadership role can feel like taking over the controls of a high speed train. Yes, you may have studied the driver’s manual. And yes, you may have closely watched the seasoned conductor between the last stop and here. But when they start describing what to do when the engine starts making a disturbing “clunking” noise, you nod your head, but really, really hope it never happens. Most unsettling is that the train cannot stop. There are people on the train with places to be and time is slipping by…
YNPN Phoenix has places to be and time is slipping by. As I am writing this, it is already the end of January. Our first program of the year has happened, new members have joined, and our Board has met to carry out their business. We have not stopped.
But where is this crazy train going?
Over the past six months, the YNPN Phoenix Board has been working to develop a three year strategic plan, designed to provide direction and continuity for future Boards, while giving enough flexibility to adapt to the changing needs of our community. This new plan consists of four pillars: Advocacy, Career Readiness, Strategic Collaboration, and Board Service. Within each of these pillars we know that we must additionally be committed to championing Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice (EDIJ), preparing our members to withstand the long-term impacts of COVID-19, and encourage civic engagement among our membership and community at-large.
The vision laid out by this strategic plan is ambitious. It describes an organization more diverse, inclusive, visible, and vocal than any YNPN chapter that currently exists. It will drive us to be more consistent and professional. And, it will push us to be better.
But we can only work towards being better, because of what our past members have given us. This December the YNPN Phoenix Board had five dedicated and talented Board members roll off at the end of their two-year terms. Each of the members left a hole to be filled within our organization, and while they could have signed off taking passwords, paperwork, and lessons learned with them, they have each taken the time to help build up new leaders. As mentors to our new Board members, each of these now alumni has left a legacy of empowerment.
And for me at least, it’s a little less intimidating driving the train alone when an experienced conductor is just a call (or text) away, as past-president Julie Euber has been for me.
Reflections from the Outgoing YNPN Phoenix President – Julie Euber
And no one said this was an easy journey! It’s also a little disorienting to stand there in an unknown station as the train rolls out, watching as the locomotive you’ve worked on for years tears down the tracks without you. But one thing I can say is that I am so proud of everything the YNPN Phoenix board completed in 2020, and I can’t wait to see where the train goes next.
As the pandemic spread in Arizona, YNPN Phoenix quickly transitioned to providing support in a new virtual landscape for young nonprofit professionals in the Valley. First, the board created content to help professionals keep mental health top of mind during a time of great stress and upheaval.
Then, we recognized the need for professional development directly related to navigating not only the pandemic, but a new civil rights movement. While webinars and virtual events were starting to pick up traction, very few were geared towards young nonprofit professionals or those new to the field. So, we hosted the first YNPN Phoenix conference. By going virtual, we kept everyone safe and were able to open the conference up to a broader, national audience.
I am also proud of how the organization made a strong statement and commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. It will be a continuing process for the organization to understand how living in a racist society impacts the way we think and operate. We committed to not being silent on EDIJ and had the opportunity to work with YNPN National and other chapters to learn, grow and act. We committed to increasing board diversity and updated our board recruitment processes to ensure a diversity of candidates. By building a diverse, representative board, YNPN Phoenix will be able to do the work of ensuring that programs are not unintentionally catering to white audiences.
There were so many things that made 2020 a special year for YNPN Phoenix. I could hardly believe we were able to host Head Unicorn Vu Le at one of our virtual programs. Despite having to completely rework LINK to ensure it would be impactful on a virtual platform, it was well-attended and a huge success.
My favorite moments happened when I was working with the YNPN Phoenix board. How could it be that a 7:30am, Friday morning board meeting could give me so much hope and momentum? Believe it or not, it was true, and I know I wasn’t the only one that felt that way. In YNPN Phoenix, we support each other, and we give each other space to learn and grow. In an environment like that, we are able to take risks together that bring us closer to a thriving, resilient, and equitable social sector.
When you leave an organization as a leader, there are many different ways you might feel about it. For some, they feel like they’re jumping off the moving train just in time, fully anticipating a wreck. For others, they feel like they’re stepping off carefully, but carrying important pieces of the engine, not quite sure how the train will work without those key components. For me, I know that this is just my station. The tracks ahead are strong and sturdy, and I know that the train is moving on to incredible things. I can’t wait to follow along and cheer for all of YNPN Phoenix’s future successes.
And Adrian – you’ve got this, and YNPN Phoenix is incredibly fortunate to benefit from your leadership and vision. Good luck and have fun!
Julie Euber, Outgoing President of YNPN Phoenix
Adrian Jamieson, Incoming President of YNPN Phoenix