How did you come to work in the nonprofit sector? What was a big challenge you overcame? If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your less-experienced self? These are just a few of the questions that Laura Zielke, Director of Member Experience for the Nonprofit Leadership Lab, will ask leaders from across the nonprofit sector. Each episode is designed to help you feel less alone in your work and inspire you to take your nonprofit from messy to thriving without burning out in the process.
S2E18: Help United Through Caring Hands
My guest for this episode is Founder and Executive Director of H.U.T.C.H. (Help United Through Caring Hands), Armishia Wiley-Adams.
Armishia was raised by her grandmother and uncle after her mother died when she was eight. She became pregnant in high school and dropped out. After having two more children before the age of 22, Armishia became determined to get off government assistance. She earned her GED followed by a Bachelor’s in Organizational Management with a specialization in Human Resources Management and then a Master’s in Organizational Management with a specialization in Organizational Leadership.
Over her decades of working in HR and making job placements, she was keenly aware of the gaps and flaws in the system where women were consistently referred for jobs that they were unqualified to keep. Armishia’s passion for helping women break out of poverty drove her to found her nonprofit H.U.T.C.H. Their mission is to teach women of all ages to become self-sufficient and workforce ready.
During this interview, Armishia and I talk about everything from referrals and assessments to job training and placement; from George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks to voter suppression and what it’s like being an African-American mom in the Atlanta area, and we also talk about the pandemic’s impact on programs and the board. Through it all, Armishia generously shares her triumphs and struggles of running a nonprofit all while holding down a full time job in HR.
As you know, I finished recording all the podcasts for this year months ago, and yet, each one has been released at a specific time for a specific reason. And I’ve been holding this interview until now because my guest holds a Vision Board Workshop every January…and I want you to consider sponsoring at least one woman to attend this because it will literally change her life.
S2E17: Earning Mentorship. Empowering Leadership.
I’m about to introduce you to a woman who is proof positive that the mission her organization passionately pursues on a daily basis works amazingly well.
My guest, DeLashea Strawder, is the Executive Director and Artistic Director of the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit—a creative youth development organization. In other words, Mosaic is a nonprofit organization which helps to unleash and explore the creative talents of young people all while developing leadership skills which will serve them the rest of their lives.
DeLashea first learned about the organization in middle school, and after much prodding in high school by friends and teachers, she auditioned for and was accepted to Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit and participated until she graduated. And though she never planned to return to Mosaic after graduation and heading off to college, the universe had other plans.
As you listen to DeLashea’s story, you’ll be inspired by her strong commitment to both her career and her family, and you might be surprised how a turn in her grandparents’ health turned DeLashea’s plans upside down...but her journey into discovering her purpose in life right side up.
I really appreciated DeLashea’s vulnerability as she shared about the intersectionality of being a young, black, woman running an established nonprofit in Detroit and the courage she has every day to lift up other people and make sure that the conversations that need to be had are had.
You’re gonna love this interview with wife and mother of four, DeLashea Strawder, the Executive and Artistic Director of Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit.
Encore: Preserving the White Mountain Apache Culture with Krista Beazley
In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States, we are re-releasing an educational and inspirational interview with someone whose people lived here before the country was “discovered.” Krista Beazley is now serving as the Executive Director of the Fort Apache Heritage Foundation. Hear about her journey into nonprofit leadership which began after the death of her husband. Show notes: https://yournonprofitlife.com/encore-s1e32/
Encore Episode: Serving Vulnerable Veterans & Active Service Members
Happy Veterans Day! Every year, here in the United States, we observe November 11th as a federal holiday to honor our military veterans—persons who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
“It [Veterans Day] coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which are celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veterans_Day).
In this episode, you’ll meet a remarkable woman who is not only the daughter of a veteran but the Deputy Director of a nonprofit organization that serves some of the most vulnerable veterans and service members in the country.
KellyAnn Romanych is the Deputy Executive Director of Veterans Legal Institute. VLI provides pro bono legal assistance to homeless, at risk, disabled and low income current and former service members to eradicate barriers to housing, healthcare, education, and employment and foster self-sufficiency.
Her journey to VLI might surprise you—especially when you hear what her college major was! For KellyAnn, though, every move was made conscientiously as she followed her inner compass which continually directed her on a career path of serving the servers.
KellyAnn is a lover of nature, a gifted writer, and one of the kindest women I know. I can’t wait for you to get to know her better as she shares her story and what it’s like to lead this growing nonprofit in Southern California.
S2E16: No Starving Artists
Long time no see. Can you believe it’s already October and the holidays are right around the corner? Literally. And I think we’re all still waiting to see what it’s going to be like this year as we begin peeking out from behind this life-altering global pandemic. I know one of the traditions my family missed out on last year was an in-person holiday handbell concert by the Raleigh Ringers. It wasn’t safe and like most arts organizations, they took their performance to cyberspace.
This pandemic has really turned the way we experience life upside down, and I truly believe that one of the hardest hit subsectors in the nonprofit world is arts & culture. And yet, the sector rose to the occasion as it provided us with virtual concerts we’d otherwise never been able to attend (Third Coast Baroque and Broadway Inspirational Voices, I’m talking to you!), virtual gatherings to create and reflect on beauty, and so much more.
My guest today is Dionne Powlenzuk, the Executive Director of the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington in Bowmanville, Ontario Canada. We recorded this podcast earlier this year before adding video, so ironic as it is, we only have audio for this interview.
So… could you imagine how to run a public art gallery during a pandemic? Like how can you even? How do you continue serving your community when everything is on lockdown? Or not? Or again?
The fact is: Even though we are finally seeing the light at the end of the Covid tunnel, this pandemic has hit the arts sector the hardest of all.
And yet, I cannot fathom how we would have survived this pandemic without leaders like Dionne who took what was primarily an in-person only experience and moved it online and outdoors so we could learn and refresh our spirits during one of the darkest times in our lifetime!.
In this interview, Dionne and I talk about how she started volunteering at the organization she now leads, and what that journey has been like. We also explore the various ways the pandemic has changed the way we experience the arts, and how her local gallery has not only expanded their audience, they’ve also grown the pool of artists they support—with living wages—to include artists worldwide.
So with no further adieu, allow me to introduce you to Dionne Powlenzuk, the Executive Director of the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington.
S2E15: Improving the Lives of Horses Now and Later
Today’s interview is with the founder of a Humane Society in southern Texas.
You might not be familiar with this type of organization so let me help you get your bearings. You’ve heard of animal rescues and animal shelters before, right? And when you think about them, you probably imagine they rescue pets like cats and dogs.
And maybe, if you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you also think of birds, pigs, and snakes!
So, let me ask you this. Have you ever thought about what happens to abused and neglected horses? Or what happens when a horse owner loses her job and can’t afford to care for her well-loved four-hoofed friend? Did you realize that horses sometimes need to be rescued? Sheltered? Rehabilitated?
Well, they do, and today you’re going to meet a woman who not only saw the need for a horse rescue, she decided to start a nonprofit organization that does just that.
Today’s episode was so much fun to record. My guest is the Founder and Executive Director of Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society, Jennifer Williams. During our interview, Jennifer shares about her love of horses and her journey into the nonprofit sector--which, by the way, was never part of her life plan.
She also shares about how she met her husband online back in the mid 90s (something we have in common), and how her life changed after having her daughter later in life.
Additionally, Jennifer has a genetic condition that has made running a nonprofit more challenging than it would have been without it. We also discuss life as a nonprofit founder and how hard it was to build a strong board--but so worth it.
I can’t wait for you to meet Jennifer Williams, Founder and Executive Director of Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society in Rosharon, Texas.
Inspiring and insightful! 🙏
Whether you’re well-established in nonprofit life or simply interested in learning more about philanthropy and some of the amazing non-profits out there - this is a must-listen podcast for you! Not only does Laura do a fantastic job leading conversations with thought leaders across the fundraising and non-profit spectrum, the listener will always be treated to incredible expertise and insight. Highly recommend listening and subscribing!
On The Spot Edutainment loves you!
I have been a member of a number of companies claiming to inspire and assist nonprofits. But, none have even come close to what this organization is doing for us! I pray for their continued success as a giving source for us to thrive from. I love these podcasts and I appreciate Laura so much!
Encouragement for non profit leaders
I am the founder and CEO of a brand new non profit who just joined the Nonprofit Leadership Lab and started listening to this podcast. Laura’s interviews broaden the understanding of the impact of nonprofit organizations in communities and gives reality to how to navigate leadership in non profits in a very heartwarming manner! Enjoy! Peggy