I’ve appreciated the power of storytelling since childhood. Sharing stories with others motivated me to explore words as a medium for connection. After studying English Literature in graduate school, I took a job as the Communications Director of a Chicago-based Shakespearean theatre company. Fueled by my love of the arts, I saw this is an opportunity to apply my degrees and continue fostering my passion for the written word. The theater was a non-profit organization (as most are), and it was only after working there for awhile that I discovered my skills for development, fundraising, and non-profit strategy. In my spare time I was also leading a creative writing class at a Chicago homeless shelter, and I soon became more energized by my time there than I was in my day job.
Many people are driven to the non-profit space with a desire to change the world. I believe it’s important to take a pragmatic approach — and ask what skills you specifically can bring to the table to affect change.
While volunteering at the shelter I developed a friendship with a man in interim housing, helping him to write and refine his resume and cover letters for his job search. Alongside other members of the staff, we helped him to secure a job — and six months later, I saw him running through the shelter, jingling a set of keys while singing and hugging everyone in sight. It had been nearly ten years since he had a home of his own, and he was proud to be sharing the big news with everyone that he landed an apartment. It was such an honor to be a part of that moment, and to have been a part of his path. I wanted to continue chasing that feeling, so I accepted the first job opening at that very shelter.