Last night Marie-Jouvelle Aubourg and I represented the Emerging Leaders Program at the Young Non-Profit Professionals Network (YNPN) Professional Development Fair. That is a mouthful, but what it basically means is that we spoke with a variety of people working in and around the non-profit world (or hoping to) about Emerging Leaders and why they should apply. We met a range of people from government agencies to community micro-lending orgs; recent grads to not so recent grads. Regardless of where they were coming from, there was a striking commonality among them: many had been in their fields for several years, wanted to find a way to progress professionally, but didn't have access to any programs or internal support to help them do that.
Over the course off the evening, it became really clear that Emerging Leaders, with its emphasis on training early to mid-career non-profit professionals, is filling a huge need in the field. People just lit up at the idea that they could step away from the crazy crush of their normal day and take some time to learn about leadership and growth. They all bemoaned feeling stuck at their desks or in the field, and found it hard to even think about next steps, let alone talk to anyone or explore other opportunities. The positive response to Emerging Leaders really demonstrated how much people are hungering for a program like this.
Talking about Emerging Leaders also reinforced to me the value I have been getting out of it, and was a great reminder to squeeze as much out of these last two months as possible. I certainly hope some of those we spoke to will apply, and will in turn benefit the program with their ideas and different perspectives.