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"We Work Hard at Work Worth Doing"

Monday, September 18, 2017

This is a guest post from our member Tori Small, Member Services Associate, North Carolina Network of Grantmakers.

There are so many things I took away from the 2017 Forum Annual Conference, but I think I can sum them up with these borrowed words from (my professional role model) Leslie Knope, Parks and Rec: We work hard at work worth doing.

I attended the Forum Conference in San Francisco as I finished my first year as the Member Services Associate at the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers (NCNG). The timing of the conference was a perfect opportunity for me to reflect on my first year in philanthropy, and connect with my peers (which I had been looking forward to all year!) through the Emerging Leaders sessions.

I kicked off the conference by attending the Emerging Practitioners Conversation, and spent three hours discussing our lessons learned, struggles, triumphs and goals for ourselves and the sector. One struggle that surfaced was the retention issue for emerging leaders in our sector. I believe building a support network of other Emerging Leaders is crucial to success in a field with no direct career path, and the learning curve that comes with it. This session was a great chance to begin building that support network on an intentional and thoughtful foundation.

The conference was a wonderful opportunity to connect with other emerging leaders in the field and to gain new insights into this work. My time in San Francisco, surrounded by folks who are passionate about their work, was a great reminder of the scope and impact of regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations across the country. We are all doing such fantastic work, and I’ve learned that when you put us all together, it’s a powerhouse effect. The connections and relationships we forged during our time together will certainly lead to some exciting new partnerships in the future, as we continue to work together for greater impact.

I have learned so much in my time at NCNG this year (thanks to my wonderful and supportive teammates and mentors Ret and Sarah), with a year behind me, I realize that there is still so much more ahead of me that I hope to learn and accomplish in this sector. The Forum Conference, and the Emerging Leaders Scholarship, allowed me to begin my second year working with fresh ideas, new friends and an improved sense of the national landscape of philanthropy.

Many thanks to the Forum, and thanks to the generosity of the Kellogg Foundation for making this possible!

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