October 2nd, 2013 Industry Insiders: Education & Nonprofit Careers


On October 2nd, 2013, OLC attended the panel event, Industry Insiders: Education and Non-profit careers, hosted by NYNeedsYou in partnership with BMCC. The panelists presenting at the event are as follows: Marianna Tu, Chief Program Officer at NYNeedsYou, Adrienne Hopkins, Associate Consultant at the Bridgespan Group, Rosa Tu, Program assistant at Tzu chi Foundation, Lashawnda Brooks, Fellow Support Coordinator at NYNeedsYou, and Tricia Tait, Accounting and Fiscal Management Consultant. 

The panel was moderated by Bryan Garcia, Fellow Support Coordinator at NYNeedsYou.
The main purpose and topic of the event was to inform students and prospective non-profit professionals with a general overview of the education non-profit sector. Therefore, the introduction of the event covered the basic outline of what the nonprofit sector is and what is encompassed within the field of education.
Marianne Tu, Chief Program Officer at NYNeedsYou outlined the introduction into three main points that covered the difference between federal, for-profit, and non-profit organizations, the structure of the non-profit and education sectors, and how to find employment within the non-profit sector.
After her overview of the non-profit sector, Marianne handed over the panel to Bryan Garcia, Fellow Support Coordinator at NYNeedsYou. Bryan started the Panel by asking the question, “What is a typical work day for you?”
Adrienne Hopkins, Associate Consultant at the Bridgespan Group, was the first to answer: “There is no typical day…” Adrienne said, “The day varies depending on the tea, that you are assigned or case you are working on… The team needs you to collect data, set up spread sheets, or even conduct interviews.”
Rosa Tu, Program Assistant at the Tzu Chi Society agreed and talked about how the day is relative to “the project that you are working on…” As Rosa and organization are currently working on Hurricane Sandy relief, what she allocates her time whether it be spending the day doing data entry or overseeing project operations.
Lawshanda Brooks, Fellow Support Coordinator at NYNeedsYou, attested to the dynamism and arbitrary nature of her work day or what she called, “random crisis management.” Although the structure of the school system dictated the curriculum, how the students interacted with their environment varied every day.
After covering the average day of the non-profit and education professional, Bryan asked a fitting question that relates to the purpose of the event, “What personality type best fits in the non-profit/education environment and culture?
Rosa Tu took to imitative with this question highlighted the value of open mindedness. “The prospective non-profit professional must be comfortable with the organization’s mission and culture” Rosa said, “As Tzu Chi is an organization steeped in Chinese and Buddhist culture, the prospective non-profit professional must be comfortable with this environment.”
For Lawshanda Brooks, the most valuable traits pertain to having the grit and dedication to further the organization’s cause. According to Brooks, the non-profit field is, “not an easy field… you can’t expect everything to be set.”
Tricia Tait, Accounting and Fiscal Management Consultant, stressed the importance of the prospective non-profit professional to be passionate about their work. How passionate a person is towards their work determines how much they would be interested in furthering themselves in their field whether it involves, “learning and educating themselves on aspects they are unfamiliar with in their field” or “being able to take risks.”
Adrienne Hopkins added that a dab is realism is also an important trait for the prospective non-profit professional. And realism became the focal point of Bryan’s next question, “In regards to financial compensation, is the non-profit field, realistic or feasible for me?”
Adrienne spoke candidly on the subject, “When you are working until 4 am, you will then question whether or not it will be worth it.” Due the rigorous nature of the non-profit sector where compensation is little despite the level of work demanded, financial compensation shouldn’t be the number one concern of the prospective non-profit professional.
For Tricia Tait, whether or not the non-profit sector fits a person, “depends where you are in life.” As a person’s career choices vary in different points of his or her life, financially, it is up to the person to decide whether or not they are financially able enough to get into the non-profit sector.