DirectorYoung Nonprofit Professionals Network
YNPN: Cultivating and Elevating the Discourse on the Nonprofit Talent Pipeline
As the new and first national director of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN), Trish Tchume appreciates CompassPoint’s longtime partnership on YNPN’s efforts to create leadership development opportunities for young nonprofit workers.
Trish says, “YNPN is a living example of CompassPoint’s commitment to strengthening the talent pipeline in the nonprofit sector. CompassPoint is a really well-rounded shop, but they do more than just talk about how these things are important. Through all my experiences with CompassPoint, I have seen examples of how the staff is trying to live that out.”
YNPN first began 15 years ago as an idea of a few CompassPoint staff members to create an organization that would support young people who wanted to build sustainable careers in the sector. Recalls Trish, “Something that always stood out for me is that, in the beginning, CompassPoint leaders invested consulting hours and allowed staff members to dedicate time to this. I think it really means something that an organization, where every hour means an investment of dollars, is willing to do that. Also, early on, Jan [Masaoka, CompassPoint CEO at the time] helped YNPN write the proposal for a grant from the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. This was the first funding that YNPN received. This first step helped grow the organization beyond an intimate group of people who were in-the-know, and expanded YNPN to a resource that could serve the Bay Area. That was the seed of us moving to the national organization we are today.” 15 years later, the legacy of that first grant still echoes within YNPN’s programs. In fact, YNPN was able to reconnect with the Haas, Jr. Fund through its partnership with CompassPoint on Nonprofit Day this year. “We haven’t been funded by them since that first grant, and this year we received a grant to support our national leaders’ conference.”
Through the years, YNPN has elevated the discourse about the needs of young leaders in the sector, using research to draw the connection between powerful leadership and resources for professional development. “For instance, as a young person, you want to advance in your career but the path isn’t clear. Or you know you need more professional development but you don’t have access to the resources you need. Often, you’re not in a position of power to draw attention to this need. But CompassPoint does the research that is necessary to name these issues so it’s clear that they are not just personal, but are affecting us across the sector. The Daring to Lead research series is the clearest example of that. For years, people knew that the executive director position was untenable, but CompassPoint stepped back and talked to a cross section of people to really name the experience. They also really clearly articulate the interventions that someone could take to cope with these issues. For YNPN, research like that has been what has allowed an organization like ours to have legitimacy. We are able to point to reports like Daring to Lead and say, ‘This is why it’s important to prepare the next generation to take on these positions and maybe even prepare them for a different reality than what’s been in the last 20 or 30 years.’”
In 2011, YNPN entered into a new phase and was in need of a different level of support, especially having reached the milestone of a first-ever paid staff member: Trish. “I‘ve been really humbled by both the responsiveness and proactive way that CompassPoint has reached out to us to see what we need, and, in particular, what I need.” As a new executive director, she participated in Compass Point’s Executive Director 101 leadership series to learn leadership and management skills pertinent to her new ED role. Also, Senior Project Director Marla Cornelius has helped YNPN restructure its board and hone the definition of the ED and board roles. Trish adds, “I almost feel like CompassPoint is this genie in a bottle. We dream up a need and they just show up and are able to provide that. In a lot of ways, I feel like they’ve been my coworkers and all of my experiences with them have been very formative. I’ve felt personally grateful for their willingness to continue to invest in us in a really direct way, especially in this past year. It is in keeping with that theme: you can write a report that building the leadership pipeline is important, but they live it.”