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YNPN: Tomorrow’s nonprofit professionals today!

We always knew that our Director of Client Services Allyson Beigeleisen was on the pulse of emerging nonprofit leadership. As a member of the national board of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN), Allyson had the privilege of attending the 2009 YNPN Leaders Conference. The national board and over 60 chapter leaders from regions across the country, as well as a number of local twenty-something nonprofit professionals, convened in Washington, D.C. to discuss the issues that are important to the next generation of nonprofit leaders.

As could be expected, much of the conversation at the conference centered around the economy’s impact on career paths and longevity. According to Allyson, the overall vibe about long-term career opportunities in the sector hovered around cautious optimism. While there was concern about the ability to retain one’s job (about 5% of conference attendees had been laid off this year) or build a long-term career (many attendees planned to work in the government or private sector at some point), there was an overall belief that the sector will continue to grow and create opportunities for young professionals. This sentiment was especially true for people who worked in the education field or other sub-sectors that may benefit from initiatives such as the Serve America Act and Obama’s economic stimulus packages to nonprofits.

When the topic of the “leadership gap” arose, practically all YNPNers in attendance saw the glass as half-full. The feeling of “we’re here and ready to lead” overwhelmed any perception that the nonprofit sector is either currently experiencing or heading for a leadership crisis. As Allyson summarized, “This generation is the solution. We’re doing everything we can to prepare for leadership roles.”

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