Emerging Leaders Spotlight: Malena Attar

Malena Attar is the Development Associate at Good Grief and a participant in this year’s Emerging Leaders program in New York. Good Grief’s mission is to provide unlimited and free support to children, teens, young adults, and families after the death of a mother, father, sister, or brother through peer support programs, education, and advocacy. Malena’s role combines her passion for community engagement and the advocacy needed to ensure that no child ever has to grieve alone. This is an excerpt from the post she wrote for The Leading Edge, the AlumniCorps blog.

Malena Attar
Malena Attar

I had high expectations for my experience with the Emerging Leaders program, but I can honestly say that I had no idea how life-changing it would be.

Before our first session, we were asked to obtain feedback on our strengths. Only our strengths. Before our first day together, Emerging Leaders was al- ready sending us a message that would be made very clear: “You are already a leader. You already possess the unique strengths that you bring to the environments around you.” We have gotten this far because we already are leaders, we are just simply unaware of how to position ourselves so that we can best show our strengths and succeed.

The beauty of this program is that it meets once a month over the span of nine months. As we explored forms of communication, leadership styles, managing up, networking, fundraising, and public speaking, we always looped back to what kind of leader we were. It is a lot of work to undo the notion that a leader speaks, leads, works, looks a specific way. As each of the leaders in the program slowly emerged into their better-defined selves, everyone benefited. Everyone in the program shared the struggles, rethinking, perseverance, and successes of each peer. In learning to work with our varied professional teams, we were evolving into our own diverse and powerful team.

This would have been impossible without the exceptional work of the AlumniCorps staff and board, and most importantly of our facilitator, Yael Sivi. We all knew Yael would be encouraging us to stretch further than we thought we could, and that we would grow. We did. The announcement of a number of promotions, new opportunities, and workplace improvements filled the air as we met each month.

I am so grateful for this opportunity, for Princeton AlumniCorps, and for our facilitator Yael. In being accepted into this program, each leader started on a journey they didn’t know was possible. A journey with a network of hundreds of accomplished professionals, a wealth of knowledge, a family of peers that will continue to grow alongside us, and as the leaders we didn’t realize we could be.

Emerging Leaders Spotlight: Scott Welfel

Why did you join the Princeton AlumniCorps community and the Emerging Leaders program? We posed that question to Scott Welfel ’06, a Staff Attorney at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and 2014-15 Emerging Leader.

Scott Welfel '06
Scott Welfel ’06

I applied to Emerging Leaders because I wanted to learn how to play a more active role in the operation, organization, and direction of my organization even from my current role as staff attorney, to position myself to become one of the leaders in prisoner reentry policy in New Jersey, and to improve my ability to effectively and efficiently manage my direct reports. I was inspired by the example of Emerging Leaders alumni, such as Shena Elrington, who have risen to become incredibly effective leaders in their organizations and their respective fields.

I have learned an enormous amount from my colleagues – the other Emerging Leaders currently in the program. It is really inspiring to be connected with such passionate, driven advocates for social justice, and to learn different management techniques from their collective experience and wisdom. Additionally, Yael Sivi, Program Facilitator for New York, is hands-down a master teacher. Her knowledge of what makes us and others tick, and how to harness that knowledge to realize the full potential of our organizations, is absolutely unparalleled. If given the option of choosing one person to send to end the gridlock in Washington, I would send Yael.

The skills and tools I am learning at Emerging Leaders are particularly crucial in the social justice sphere of legal advocacy, where organizations are dependent on law student interns. Effective and efficient management of interns is particularly difficult given the transient and unpaid nature of their positions. Through mastering the skill of effective management, I hope to markedly increase the capacity and productivity of the Institute for Social Justice as well as any organizations I land at in the future.

I support AlumniCorps because I believe effective leadership, and the level of self-reflection that is required for effective leadership, must be taught. No other organization currently offers this level of high-caliber professional development for leaders in the public interest sector.

Emerging Leaders Spotlight: Suzanne Chipkin

Why did you join the Princeton AlumniCorps community and the Emerging Leaders program? We posed that question to Suzanne Chipkin, Associate Manager, Young Lions at the New York Public Library and 2013-14 Emerging Leader.

Suzanne Chipkin
Suzanne Chipkin

I became interested in the Emerging Leaders program when a former colleague told me great things about his experience. After three years at iMentor, I was looking to connect with people at other organizations and develop my own career—I needed to broaden my horizons. With Emerging Leaders, I found a diverse, accomplished set of people. I was looking to move to a management role and develop other skills.

To me, the peer coaching was the highlight of the program. Being coached by my fellow Emerging Leaders—individuals who knew me well but were outside of my organization—helped me reflect, process challenges, and brainstorm solutions. On the other side, being a coach helped me to understand my peers better and allowed me to get an inside look at other organizations and teams.

I loved the guest speakers, and I learned so much from hearing their stories. One of the biggest lessons I took from these talks is the idea that careers seldom take a linear path. My experience with the Emerging Leaders program has helped me to clarify my career goals, take on more responsibilities professionally, and focus on what matters most to me. I switched jobs shortly after completing Emerging Leaders. While I didn’t have staff management           experience, the skills I gained in the program helped me to stand out in the interview process.

I plan to stay in the nonprofit sector for my career. I care about a lot of issues, and there are so many great nonprofit organizations making an impact. It’s exciting that Emerging Leaders is preparing young leaders across the sector—you need help getting the skills and experience. I support Princeton AlumniCorps because its work to strengthen the sector resonates with me. The AlumniCorps community is special!

Princeton AlumniCorps Welcomes New Executive Director, Andrew C. Nurkin

On behalf of the Princeton AlumniCorps Board of Directors, President Kathy Miller ’77 and Chairman John Fish ’55 are thrilled to announce the hiring of Andrew C. Nurkin as the next Executive Director of Princeton AlumniCorps.

Andrew joins Princeton AlumniCorps after four years on the staff of the Pace Center for Civic Engagement at Princeton University, where he developed and managed public leadership and civic action programs that engage undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and alumni. He previously served as the Executive Director of Fine By Me, an organization dedicated to promoting equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people on campuses and in communities across the country. Andrew has also worked as an organizer with national campaigns to end poverty and comes to Princeton AlumniCorps with extensive experience in mobilizing individuals to take shared action on issues of public concern. Originally from Atlanta, Andrew holds a M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, a MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a BA in English from Duke, where he served a three-year term on the Board of Trustees. He also volunteers as a writing instructor at Garden State prison.

Andrew writes, ” Over the past four years it has become clear to me that Princeton AlumniCorps is not simply another elevation in the civic engagement landscape. AlumniCorps is doing something different and particularly compelling, and if civic engagement has now become a defining feature of Princeton, then AlumniCorps (and its earlier incarnation as Project 55) deserves a heap of the credit. You have built an entire organization devoted to maximizing the positive social impact of that unique network known as Princeton alumni, and in the process you have enriched the ways generations of graduates think about the purpose of their Princeton experience. The methods are as inspirational as the aims: intergenerational mentorship, responsiveness to community-identified needs and broader trends in the nonprofit sector, a collaborative ethic, and a humility that opens the way for energy and good ideas to become visible outcomes. The word catalyst seems apt for this organization that does indeed precipitate and accelerate change.”

AlumniCorps President, Kathy Miller ’77 writes, “Andrew has the skills needed to successfully work with our large cadres of volunteers and board members and relevant to furthering the growth of our programs through expanded alumni engagement. I am personally looking forward to working closely with Andrew in my role as President, and am confident that you will find him to be thoughtful, intelligent, articulate and sincerely passionate about the work of the organization. ”

Andrew begins at the Princeton AlumniCorps offices on Monday,  June 25, 2012. He can be reached at ANurkin@alumnicorps.org or 609-921-8808 ext. 2.

AlumniCorps’ Celebrates the Emerging Leaders Program’s Inaugural Year

Emerging Leaders Class of 2012

Members of the nonprofit community gathered in Washington, D.C. on March 13th to celebrate the success of the Emerging Leaders program’s first year. AlumniCorps board and staff members, participants’ employers, mentors and family members joined other supporters to congratulate the 2012 class of Emerging Leaders. Within three intimate groups, participants shared the ways that the program has changed their professional lives. Attendees were inspired to hear firsthand the exponential impact this program has achieved in just one year. As one participant said, “This program didn’t just transform eleven individuals. It transformed the workings of at least eleven nonprofit organizations in DC, and it will continue to improve how effectively those different organizations serve their employees and their community moving forward.”

The celebration culminated a series of monthly sessions facilitated by an executive coach and featuring executive-level guest speakers within the nonprofit sector along with skill development activities. The Emerging Leaders implemented these learned skills in their work, and acted as role models for their peers. The program is expanding to New York in its second year, set to begin in June. The nonprofit professionals who recently completed the program are helping to fill a significant leadership gap within the sector as AlumniCorps Board President Kathy Miller ’77 noted: “A recent extensive study by the Meyer Foundation and Compass, Daring to Lead 2011, found that two thirds of nonprofit executives plan to leave their jobs within five years.”

An Emerging Leader summed up her gratitude for the program. “This is a phenomenal experience that is easily worth 10 times what our organizations contributed to support this work. I hope your work is able to expand to support even beyond NY, as I found this immensely helpful to my personal and professional growth. Thank you!”

Emerging Leaders participant and Alumni Liaison Kyndall Parker ’06 announced an alumni fundraising effort with a goal of securing $10,000 by June 30, 2012. If you would like to support Emerging Leaders continued growth please donate now:

 

 

 

Congratulations to the Class of 2012 Emerging Leaders!

Princeton AlumniCorps’ 2011-12 Annual Report is Here!

Princeton AlumniCorps is pleased to announce the release of our 2011-12 Annual Report.

We are conducting four programs to provide  a continuum of opportunities for alumni to engage in meaningful civic service throughout their lives. The report showcases these programs and  highlights our recent accomplishments, including:

– Launching Emerging Leaders, a program designed to propel aspiring nonprofit professionals forward in their careers and address the growing leadership deficit that the nonprofit sector faces.

– Placing 51 young graduates in fellowships at public interest organizations around the country through our flagship Princeton Project 55 Program, whose alumni now number more than 1,300.

– Channeling the activist spirit in alumni from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s by finding them skills-based Community Volunteers opportunities in Washington, DC, Chicago, and the Princeton area.

– Helping college students and alumni around the country organize initiatives inspired by the PP55 example through The Alumni Network, which welcomed two new affiliates this year.

– Engaging more than 200 volunteers and more than 450 donors in supporting and driving all facets of our work.

All of this is possible because of the support and shared effort of our donors, volunteers, board, and staff, who ensure that our programs and impact continue to grow.  We thank you for your continued belief in our work!

Click here to view the full report.