A new life after the nonprofit sector (2 years in)

In the past year, I have had a similar conversation with numerous friends who are considering other options after working in the nonprofit sector for some time. Maybe they approached me as a trusted person, who took this step over two years ago, after over eight years of running Diabetes Hands Foundation, people open up to me and see me as a potential source of advice on this topic. So I figured I’d write a blog post about it.

  1. If you have spent any amount of time in the nonprofit sector, you likely are drawn to serve people, to do things to impact the lives of people in a positive way. It may have crossed your mind that you can only accomplish this in the nonprofit sector. I used to think so too early on, and I realized I was wrong. To consider opportunities in the for profit sector, consider companies with a strong sense of social responsibility, companies that are disrupting spaces where changes in terms of access, affordability, and impact is sorely needed. To do this, look at the mission statement of the company, talk to people that work at the company and contractors/partners of the company. You may find that mission-driven companies may very well be a great next place for you to put to use the skills you developed during your time in the nonprofit sector. That is my experience I have had at Livongo, where I have been at for two years.
  2. Consider the sector you have experienced with. You likely have worn multiple hats in one or more nonprofits within the same sector, which gave you enough experience in a variety of functions. The one likely common denominator across all responsibilities you’ve had may be the sector (health, housing, etc.) you’ve worked in. That experience can be very valuable in the private sector, as you have developed a more intimate understanding of the needs of the people that your agency served. And the flexibility that you develop when you work in a nonprofit is a highly valued quality anywhere.
  3. Depending on where you are in your life journey (single/married; with children/with parent caregiving obligations), you may have different family requirements. You may have obligations that limit your ability to move. Consider which ones are flexible and which aren’t. If your biggest constraint is the potential for uprooting yourself and your immediate family, evaluate as a family your willingness to tackle it. Sometimes there may be true gems underlying what may otherwise feel like difficult choices.

These are three high-level things for you to consider if you are exploring a life beyond the nonprofit sector. I am happy to chat if you’d like to use me as a sounding board for this.

44 years, 44 lessons

71j8-l7x7NL._UL1500_

I am turning 44 years old, tomorrow, July 15, 2016. Repurposing a theme I did when I turned 40, and adding to the list.

If you find any of these useful, please consider making a special donation on my behalf to Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Here are 44 random lessons I’ve learned, in no particular order:
1. Play peek-a-boo with crying babies in airplanes.
2. Always stay in touch with your childhood friends.
3. When you read a good book, tell others about it.
4. Share good jokes: the world needs more people smiling.
5. Adopt a dog: they are great companions.
6. Dance a lot! It’s good for your heart and your soul.
7. Gardening is good exercise and makes you love plants even more.
8. Grilled sandwiches are the best!
9. Learn to play an instrument: you will have a blast.
10. If someone compliments you, take the compliment.
11. Stare at the sky long enough to watch the clouds moving.
12. Take a deep breath… exhale. Repeat… repeat…
13. Rioja wine. Yep, that’s it.
14. Prog rock, for college years. Ambient and jazz, later in life.
15. When the opportunity opens up, travel: go places!
16. Some Sundays, wake up to baroque music.
17. A cup of black coffee in the mornings: hmmm!
18. Rogaine can help with baldness… if you put it on.
19. If your blood sugars are bad one day, try again the next day.
20. Learn a new language or two. You will discover new worlds.
21. When you travel, don’t take a tour bus: walk around the city.
22. When you are upset, get away from the keyboard, take a walk.
23. Embrace gray hairs: celebrate birthdays!
24. Go inside a photo booth and goof off with friends.
25. Buy local, even if it costs a little more.
26. Have a thick cappuccino every so often.
27. Go to Farmers Markets.
28. Praise in public. Criticize in private, one-on-one.
29. Once in a while, wander, don’t pick up a map.
30. Park as far as you can, don’t use the stairs: walk more.
31. It’s OK to feel afraid. Just don’t let fear control you.
32. Straight or gay: it’s all the same. Everyone is a person.
33. Minnesota and Venezuela are closer than you’d believe.
34. Smile when you are on the phone: other people can feel it.
35. Don’t take yourself too seriously… Seriously!
36. Give to at least one charitable cause every year.
37. Aisle is better than window by a long shot.
38. Once in a while, play a song you love real loud.
39. I have an accent, believe it or not: even in Spanish!
40. When in doubt, remember to tell people how much they rock!
41. Give surprise backrubs. People appreciate it.
42. Avocado with a touch of salt: you heard it here first. 😉
43. Read audiobooks… Or listen to them. Just do it.
44. Karaoke with friends: priceless!

Being comissioned a Kentucky Colonel!

It’s been a long time since I blog in here… It’s been very busy.

Today, I want to share some very special personal good news. I received this in the mail today:

IMG_0023

I can think of few things as unexpected as being commissioned a Kentucky Colonel:

The commission of Kentucky Colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Governor of Kentucky. It is recognition of an individual’s noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to our community, state and nation.

Just to imagine for a second some of the people who have received this honor before me makes me feel incredibly humbled!

It reminds me of how much more work to be done lies ahead…