Eileen Newcomer - President
What do you do in your spare time?: Like most millennials, I’m a Netflix junkie. In my truly spare time, I like to relax and binge watch my new favorite show. My long list of things I like to do, but don’t do often enough is: reading, camping, going for bike rides, drawing, traveling, volunteering…really, where does the list end? Other than that I really enjoy spending time with my family, we just spend the whole time laughing.
What inspires you?: The amount of young talent in our sector. There are so many people starting their own nonprofits or in leadership roles at the organizations they passionately believe in. You all push me to be the best I can be.
Why are you in nonprofit work?: I’m in the nonprofit sector for most of the same reasons I think we all are. I want to make a difference in the world. It took me a long time to decide what I wanted to do. I just knew that I wanted to be doing something where I was helping people. The range of resources our sector provides gives us the opportunity to make a real impact on people’s lives. Not to be cliché but I’m dreaming of a better tomorrow, and want to know that I’m part of the effort to make that happen.
Who is a hero of yours?: Bettie Locke Hamilton, founder of Kappa Alpha Theta. Bettie along with a group of 3 friends started Kappa Alpha Theta in 1870 to give women a support group and to empower them to get an education at a time when women were not very welcome in the academic world. Today, what she started as a small support group has grown into an organization impacting the lives of thousands of women, creating the leaders of tomorrow.
What's something quirky about you?: I know the difference between wilderness and wild lands. I spent a summer giving historical tours at Great Camp Sagamore, a Vanderbilt Family Estate in the Adirondacks that is situated between wilderness and wild lands.
Taylor Jackson - Vice President
What do you do in your spare time?: Spare time is rare, but I do like to spend a lot of it outdoors! I love taking hikes with my pitbull, Emma, and traveling all over the state and the country! I also love to read, and listen to a few of my favorite podcasts.
Who inspires you?: The students I have worked with who have been through so much but are still pushing through to earn their degrees and make their future their own.
Why are you in nonprofit work?: I am passionate about knowing that my work makes a difference and improves the lives of others. I also love how amazing the people I work with are, and that they care so much about the causes we are working towards.
Who is a hero of yours?: I am unashamed to be incredibly inspired by Leslie Knope (and, of course, Amy Poehler). Both are strong, passionate, and independent women who are dead-set on making a difference in the world!
Ashleigh Herrera - Treasurer
What do you do in your spare time?: I spend a lot of time reading and researching historical events; and I’m lucky to have a wonderful kitty who loves snuggling and reading as much as I do. I’m also a big fan of road trips and exploring small town America- antique stores are my favorite stops.
What inspires you?: Harmonious, well-designed spaces and products; apartment therapy is one of my favorite blogs.
Why are you in nonprofit work?: Preservation and nonprofits seem to go hand in hand and I love working with the innovative and passionate people that are drawn to the nonprofit field.
Who is a hero of yours?: My grandmother, who has been a teacher for over 50 years, and didn’t let anything get in the way of pursuing her educational goals in a time where it was unconventional to do so. She is one of my best friends and has been so supportive of me and all of her other grandchildren.
What's something quirky about you?: I am a huge collector of vintage clothing- probably 80% of my daily wardrobe was produced before 1970.
Emily Blankenship - Membership Chair
What do you do in your spare time?: Cook food, eat food, and scour the internet in search of any tutorial, livestream, or post I may have missed from the great Gordon Ramsay.
What inspires you?: Kick-ass women who figured out work-life balance.
Why are you in nonprofit work?: I think most of us are in nonprofit work because something pisses us off. People are starving. All girls don’t have a right to education. Trump is president. What pisses me off is everyone expecting the nonprofit sector to change massive, cultural, global issues like hunger and equality, and then not allowing us to grow to any sort of scale that could actually do that. Oh, and uninformed donors that talk about overhead.
I work in my current role with Habitat because I am proud to work for an international nonprofit that is competing with the top private builders in the US housing market, while also working globally to improve land policy and systems.
Who is a hero of yours?: Michelle Alvis-White, my mentor, and friend who dedicated her life to serving the city she loved.
What's something quirky about you?: I look really angry when I pet dogs. I have to grit my teeth to prevent me from squeezing the cuteness out of them, I guess.
Rachel Mickelson - Organizational Advancement
What do you do in your spare time?: I enjoy spending time with family and working with organizations that care for others. Reading and taking naps also top the list.
Who inspires you?: I'm inspired by those who are unapologetically honest and courageous despite any adversity they may face.
Why are you in nonprofit work?: I believe there's far more to life than achieving monetary success. Some of the most valuable moments in life occur when we pause and listen to others. The love, grace and empathy I receive motivates me to shine a light on the compassionate work taking place in our city.
Who is a hero of yours?: My grandma - for her faith, sense of humor and lead foot.
What's something quirky about you?: I enjoy all types of games - Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, and classics like Clue and Pit.
Photo credit Montae Creative.
Heather Ferguson - Webmaster
What do you do in your spare time?
I’m a bit of a dreamer, so I spend a lot of time reading or listening to podcasts about innovations, leadership models, or positive psychology. I also regularly attend Zumba classes, go biking, and spend as much time at festivals and local foodie destinations as possible.
What inspires you?
Tons of things; I actually keep a running list in one of my many notebooks. But two things keep me consistently inspired: learning and working with teams of passionate people. So I guess it makes sense that I’ve found a career in higher education.
Why are you in nonprofit work?
I seek meaning in my work—whether that is mentoring staff, helping my team tell its story, or working toward a common goal. I want to be part of a team that is strategically striving to improve and that values people over profit. I believe students and staff (including myself) are always growing, and I want to see them be successful; therefore, I enjoy finding ways to help them better articulate their stories, expand their skills, and utilize their strengths. I also work hard to offer my students and staff members support and to help remove barriers that may stand in the way of their success.
I believe that there is power in partnerships, that inspiration can come from anywhere, and that success is often dependent on gathering ideas from different fields and diverse teams.
Who is a hero of yours?
Can I pick two? Emilie Wapnick, who first coined the term “multipotentialite,” (people who have many interests and creative pursuits) and Susan Cain, who brought visibility to and understanding about introverts in her best-selling book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
Both of these women are redefining what it means to be successful in the workplace and are shattering misconceptions about the “one true” model for leadership and career development. They are understated, yet incredibly influential disruptors who are helping make the professional world more inclusive by widening the definition and characteristics of success. I find their contributions to be incredibly empowering.
What's something quirky about you?
Sometimes, I assemble outfits for the week as a way to relax. I see styling clothes as a creative outlet; it is fun to see how different silhouettes, pieces of jewelry, and colors come together in unique ways. I have taken several shopping-hating friends to a resale shop to try on different styles, and all of them had a blast! In a society where we are often taught to judge our bodies, we can flip the script by experimenting and using clothes as a tool to express ourselves.
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