Bio: I wish I knew to just trust my heart and not be afraid to take chances. The nonprofit field is large enough for people from various paths to make a significant impact if they are willing to work hard and learn the field. The differences between the business and nonprofit field aren’t as big as you think that they are, but the culture and values are significantly different and it will change you for the better. Also, the nonprofit field is much much harder.
Success Story: I have a varied path that has led me into the nonprofit field, but all of my experiences have only contributed to where I am today and I know I am doing exactly what I was meant to be doing. I started out as a competitive swimmer in college and got a degree in Exercise Science from ASU. I had a career in fitness for six years and at the time I felt it was time to make a career transition. I had my own business and really enjoyed learning about business, so I went back for a Masters degree in Business Administration, General Management.
I worked in the Corporate world for a couple of years and realized that money didn’t motivate me, but helping other people and making a difference did. I began volunteering with Handson Greater Phoenix and put together a fundraising event together which gave me a taste of what the nonprofit field was about. I worked for several small businesses and eventually made my way into the nonprofit field by volunteering with a nonprofit and a cause that I was really passionate about. It was an organization that was set up by a well- known trauma expert that helped people that had dealt with psychological trauma. I eventually was hired on as a Consultant and then as the Director of the nonprofit.
A couple of months later, I was asked to manage the for-profit as the Business Manager. I worked for both organizations for about two years and learned how to lay a strong foundation for a nonprofit and get experience in many different areas- it also really helped me to see the similarities and differences between the business and nonprofit fields. I completed a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from ASU and also did the AFP Mentoring Program last year which I would highly recommend. I really admired what organizations like Seed Spot, Social Venture Partners and MAC6 were doing in terms of combining entrepreneurship with a social mission. I noticed that there were not a lot of resources available for start-up or small non-profits and I really liked this new emerging field of Benefit (B) Corporations, so I started a consulting business called Think Outside the Box, LLC.
Think Outside the Box LLC provides assistance to small business and nonprofits in all aspects including marketing, fundraising and entrepreneurship. My mission is to help nonprofits create more sustainable revenue models and businesses to become more socially conscious. I want to create social enterprises for nonprofits, a business within a nonprofit ie. showing nonprofits how to rent out their kitchen space or create a moving company with trucks available etc. I would like to see the innovation, creativity and business savvy of the entrepreneur community brought to the nonprofit field, but yet not lose the heart. The Phoenix community has a thriving entrepreneur community which the nonprofit field can gain strength from and learn that sometimes risk is good.