I was pretty sure I’d fallen off the feminist face of the planet following my family’s move to Kansas City.
Everywhere I went, every company I interviewed at, every organization I joined appeared to be run by men. Even the local women’s networking group was led by male professionals (WTF?).
“What does your husband do?” became the most frequently asked question following my introduction.
I was even asked if my MBA was “the same as a man’s MBA” at a Chamber of Commerce event. That one literally left me speechless.
Accustomed to the more gender equal working world of the East and West Coasts, I did not take too well to (repeatedly) being the only woman in the boardroom, classroom, department, etc. Expressing my frustrations regarding the well-seated Kansas City patriarchy to the few other female professionals I encountered was typically met with a wistful, “Well, at least you get a chance to be included…” Continue Reading…
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Immediately following my high school graduation, I bought a one-way ticket to Beijing, China.
I’d only been on an airplane once and had never traveled internationally before, so this travel excursion was quite the adventure. I learned enough Mandarin to greet others, say “Yes” and “No”, and communicate about basic navigation. I’d received a slew-full of additional vaccines from my county health department, and leafed through a few travel books on China’s capital province. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I knew it was going to be exciting.
Seeking a more meaningful experience than my peer’s Greek rush weeks, I decided to spend the summer volunteering at two poorly-funded orphanages located a few hours outside of the capital city. I was still pretty clueless at this time about what I wanted to do with my life and whether or not I wanted to go to college. I hoped this summer of philanthropy would provide me some direction. Maybe I’d realize the nonprofit sector would be a good fit for me, or I’d make some international relief work contacts; either way, I wanted to help others and understaffed orphanages on the other side of the world seemed like a good place to start.
Millennials are all about giving back – we support socially conscious brands, practically invented crowdfunding, and are repeatedly reported to be one of the most financially generously generations in American history.
But what about giving back to our community?
What about giving back through our professional skill set?
What about serving on a nonprofit board?
Truth bomb: I didn’t have any interest in serving on a nonprofit board until I was invited. I assumed that was simply something retired professionals and politically-inclined individuals sitting on a cushy pension or salary used to fill their time; I had no idea it was even an option for young professionals like myself.