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“Reflections on Leadership in the Non-Profit Sector”

By Margaux Kay LaPointe, '11

A panel of local non-profit professionals spoke on Tuesday, Nov. 11, during the special event, “Reflections on Leadership in the Non-Profit Sector.” This event was co-sponsored by the Office of Career Services; the Villanova MPA Lecture Series on Public Leadership (a new lecture series presented by the Master of Public Administration program); the Department of Geography and the Environment; and the Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship Strategic Interest Group.

Sarah Stevenson, who earned her JD and MPA from Villanova in 2007, is the assistant policy director at the Committee of Seventy, a non-profit government watchdog. Her goal of the presentation was “to hit a few pieces of advice, hot tips.” Because the economy is currently in turmoil, she explained that it is “more difficult to extract funds from donors.” To do this, a non-profit worker must identify a need and sell it. She suggested considering “what your non-profit does and how it helps the world.” This requires the employee to be an expert in the organization.

Gina Koo works for the Nonprofit Finance Fund, which lends exclusively to non-profit organizations, and she oversees the Philadelphia-based Child Care Initiative. In additional to business, non-profits must consider their mission, “to serve communities they live in,” she said. “Remember time and time again why you chose this in the first place.” On choosing to work for a non-profit organization: “If your bottom line is helping lives, you’ll probably choose the non-profit sector.”

Considering finances, Koo urged the audience to “be realistic about what this sector is about.” When budgeting, “make sure leadership and staff are aware of what is going on.” She explained that this can help an organization avoid the funding issues that many non-profits face.

Johanna Rosen is the co-director of Mill Creek Farm in West Philadelphia, which is a collectively-run urban education farm that improves local access to nutritious foods. This organization was a natural progression of her service. “We had been growing food and working with children for years,” Rosen said. “We turned this passion into an organization.” She further explained: “Non-profit seemed the natural thing to do. The mission came before the structure.”

Margaux Kay LaPointe, ’11, is a sophomore from Lebanon, Pa. She is an intern in the Office of Communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University. Margaux is majoring in communication with a specialization in public relations.

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Jennifer Schu

Director of Communications, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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