Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - United Way Linkages Program

I have had the great fortune to move easily back and forth between the nonprofit and private sectors. I started out in nonprofit just after I finished undergrad, then went to the private sector for a few years, back to nonprofit, then to business school, and back to the private sector. This movement between the two sectors has been a great source of strength for me. Firsthand, I have been able to see how the two inform one another, and I learned that while many people draw a hard line between nonprofit and the private sector, it's unnecessary. The skills, competencies, and structures are so similar it is sometimes tough to tell one from another. 

This ability to draw the connection between the two was the strength I pointed to in my United Way Linkages application. The United Way Linkages Program trains prospective nonprofit board members and then serves as a matchmaker between members of the program and nonprofit board of United Way charities. I was thrilled to learn today that I was accepted into the program and begin my training at the end of February. 

This is one more stop on the train that is leading me to start my own business based in the nonprofit world as part of the growing number of entrepreneurs who are looking toward social entrepreneurship. This is the last piece I need to close the loop - I have worked at nonprofits, large corporations, and small companies, though don't have any board experience. This training will help me to begin to fill that gap. Another bonus is that it will be a good networking opportunity for me and I will meet other, like-minded business people with this same interest of serving on a nonprofit board. 

In a week when Wall Street and Main Street announced thousands of layoffs, plunging earnings, and more doom to come, this news today about the Linkages Program helped me lift up my eyes and see what's out beyond the horizon. It helped me to look my future right in the eye and smile. 

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