These are some of the questions we asked ourselves when we began planning YNPN Atlanta’s signature annual event many months ago. The event took shape through exploration of these questions and on Tuesday, October 8th, the YNPN Atlanta First Annual NextGen Breakfast took place at The Commerce Club in downtown Atlanta, with the incredible support of presenting sponsor, MailChimp.
First, we needed a fascinating keynote speaker that would draw our members to the event and be sure to deliver a motivating address about how to be an effective nonprofit leader. Alicia Philipp, President of the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, did not disappoint. More on that in a moment!
Second, we hoped to find 10 additional local nonprofit ‘celebrities’ that would each have a table at the event. Attendees would then be able to choose the table at which they wanted to be seated, depending on their professional interests or desire to meet a particular nonprofit rockstar. YNPN Atlanta was overjoyed and humbled that everyone we reached out to was excited to participate! Here’s the rundown of our incredible nonprofit celebrity guest list:
- Kate Atwood, Executive Director of the Arby's Foundation; Founder of Kate’s Club
- William Bryant, Jr., SeniorDevelopment Director at Atlanta Area Council Boy Scouts of America
- Ann Cramer, Senior Consultant for Coxe Curry & Associates
- Ron Frieson, President of Exte
rnal Affairs for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
- Virginia Hepner, CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center
- Alicia Philipp, President of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
- Amy Phuong, Chief Service Officer for the City of Atlanta
- Julie Ralston, Director of Center for Strategic Relations for the Atlanta Regional Commission
- Doug Shipman, CEO for the National Center for Civil & Human Rights
- Michelle Wells, President of the Junior League of Atlanta
- Valarie Wilson, Executive Director for the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership
After welcoming remarks from YNPN Atlanta Chair Lindsey Hardegree, Alicia Philipp told us about her strategies for successful leadership, especially for those of us at a young age (see image on right). She spoke at length about the need embrace diversity, to get out of your comfort zone, and to continue to grow and learn, at one point going so far as to say: "Once a quarter, do something that makes you want to throw up." She also talked about the shifting dynamics between nonprofits, government, and individuals, and about the “meanness of spirit” that exists today, challenging nonprofit professionals to do something about it.
A few of the local nonprofit rockstars who were unable to attend to due to scheduling conflicts generously donated their time for our Silent Auction, and attendees got to bid on one-on-one lunches with them! We were able to get other fantastic items such as classes at the Foundation Center and at the Georgia Center for Nonprofit’s Nonprofit University.
Personally, I sat at a table with Valarie Wilson of the Atlanta Beltline Partnership. We learned about Valarie’s path to success and she questioned us on whether we were preparing to take the next step in our own careers.
Even though I was often busy with preparations and the running of the event, I still managed to meet new people, network with some of our ‘celebrity’ guests, re-connect with folks I had met at previous YNPN Atlanta events, enjoy a great breakfast, and come away with ideas on how to better organize my career goals.
While planning the NextGen Breakfast, we hoped it was something we could replicate for years to come. With such a resounding success in its first year, you can expect that it will happen again in 2014. Personally, I can’t wait!
Please leave your thoughts on the event, suggestions for the future, or other comments below!