“I have had an identity of being different from such an early age that it's never even occurred to me to try to fit in with those around me.” That’s how Adriane Armstrong, CEO of the nonprofit social enterprise Juma Ventures, explains why she chose a career in the nonprofit sector while her classmates were pursuing for-profit, high tech startups.
For many, going against the grain isn’t easy. In this interview, Adriane tells her story including the early experiences that motivated her to want to help others and the strategic, deliberate steps she took to build a career where she could do exactly this. It’s an inspiring story filled with practical advice that anyone can use, especially those considering working in the nonprofit sector.
Our long-time listeners know that every year around the holidays, we like to feature the career journey of someone making a difference in the lives of others. This year, we’re thrilled to have Adriane as our guest and to highlight the work of Juma Ventures. Juma operates businesses with the purpose of employing young people. Its mission is to break the cycle of poverty by paving the way to work, education, and financial capability for youth across America.
Meet the Guest
Adriane Gamble Armstrong has dedicated her career to the nonprofit sector, working on issues ranging from education and community development to public health and environmental justice. Common threads in her work have been the pursuit of social justice and serving underserved communities. Adriane found Juma as a volunteer in 2005, joined staff as Managing Director of Programs in 2011, and became CEO in 2017. Prior to her appointment to CEO, Adriane served for three years as COO, and oversaw the programs & partnerships, evaluation, finance, information technology, human resources and operations functions of the agency. Through Adriane’s efforts in team building, partnership development and strategic execution, Juma has grown from a $3M organization in three cities, to the current footprint of six markets serving more than 1,000 youth per year with a budget of $7M.
Adriane serves on the board of the Hidden Genius Project, and sits on the Council of Nonprofit Leaders for Charity Navigator. She previously served on the board of Huckleberry Youth Programs, and is an alumna of the American Express Leadership Academy. Prior to joining Juma, Adriane managed a housing and social services program for youth aging out of foster care with Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Adriane holds an MBA with an emphasis in nonprofit management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, as well as an M.A. in social psychology and a B.A. in comparative studies in race and ethnicity from Stanford University. She resides in Oakland with her husband and two sons.
If you’re interested in getting involved or donating to Juma Ventures, visit Juma.org.