Name: Denny David
Title: Deputy Director
Organization’s Mission: LYRIC’s builds community and inspires positive social change through education enhancement, career trainings, health promotion, and leadership development with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth, their families, and allies of all races, classes, genders, and abilities.
Years in the sector: 8 (as a paid staff person); 22 (as a volunteer)
1. What was your first nonprofit job?
My first nonprofit job was as a volunteer at the Family Kitchen in Seattle, WA. My job was to place 1 roll on each plate. I was 8 years-old and my mom had me stand on a milk crate, so that I could reach over the counter.
2. Why do you do the work you do / what motivates you to keep at it?
I do the work that I do because I’m passionate about social justice and have a firm belief that we have the power to transform our communities. I’m motivated to keep at it by the youth we work with who are transforming their lives and communities each day.
3. What part of your job do you most enjoy?
I love facilitation and the process of learning with others.
4. What is your favorite nonprofit organization (beside the organization you work for)?
V.O.I.C.E.S. in Napa County. For several years, I’d heard about their program, which uses a youth-adult partnership model and is similar to LYRIC in many ways. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet one of their staff members through a leadership development program at CompassPoint and was really impressed by the work they’re doing.
5. What is the reform you admire most?
That’s a difficult question to answer because the achievements of so many movements have contributed to my understanding of social justice. I suppose that I’ve admired most the reforms that promoted the visibility of marginalized groups and helped build community across differences.
6. Who is your favorite real life hero/heroine?
Just recently, one of our program participants “came out” as gay at his middle school--it blew me away. I couldn’t have done that. He’s my hero.
7. What did you learn from the person who has most influenced you?
That leadership isn’t about changing who I am. It’s about being more of who I am and sharing that with others.
8. What is your connection to CompassPoint?
I am currently involved in the Leadership Development Program for Executives Serving Transition-Age Youth, which is an initiative developed by CompassPoint with funding from The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF). Additionally, I connected with CompassPoint through the Gap Inc. Leadership Initiative (GILI) and participated in the Management 101 intensive leadership training.
9. What is your favorite thing about CompassPoint?
The people. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of staff members at CompassPoint and I’m impressed every time. They are very thoughtful about their work and understand the importance of building leadership in the field. They do a wonderful job of connecting people who are passionate about similar issues, which is critical for advancing our work.
10. What is the most important quality in a leader?
I believe that the most important quality in a leader is the ability todevelop leadership in others. Mentorship is absolutely critical to the sustainability of nonprofits and to the success of our movements. I wouldn’t be able to do the work that I do now, if it were not for the mentorship that I’ve received from LYRIC’s executive director.
11. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Trying to assemble any piece of furniture.
12. What is the quality you most like in a person?
A good sense of humor.