Meet the YNPN National LaunchPad Fellows

2013-2014 Fellows Current

Michelle, Jess, Jamie, & Ebony

Special thanks to the generosity of the


In the fall of 2012, thanks to a generous gift from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, YNPN National was able to establish the LaunchPad Fellows Program – a way for aspiring individuals interested in building skills and experience in a very specific area to lend their time and talents to a fast-growing, dynamic organization.

LaunchPad Fellows work virtually from all over the country for 9 months, 10 hours per week meeting day-to-day organizational needs AND building sustainable systems that will help YNPN achieve its next level of development.  In turn, Fellows walk away with valuable skills, a wider network of colleagues, and a $2500 stipend.

This year we’re extraordinarily proud to be working with an exceptional group of YNPN National LaunchPad Fellows:

  • Ebony Harley (Baltimore, MD) – Chapter Resources Coordinator
  • Jessica Jesswein (St. Louis Park, MN) – Conference Coordinator
  • Michelle McCloskey (Brooklyn, NY) – Partnerships Coordinator
  • Jamie Smith (Austin, TX) – Communications Coordinator

Read on to learn more about this extremely talented group and how they will be working to build and support the YNPN national network.


ACY picEbony Harley 
(Baltimore, MD)
Chapter Resources Coordinator


Ebony Harley is the Community Engagement Manager at Advocates for Children and Youth in Baltimore, Maryland. In this role, she acts as a liaison between ACY’s staff and the community on issues relating to education and juvenile justice. Ebony works to mobilize grasstop and grassroots supporters to become involved in ACY’s efforts to build brighter futures for Maryland’s children and youth.

In 2009, Ebony graduated from Davidson College with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and concentration in Education. Through her coursework, Ebony was able to engage her passion for finance and her desire to provide quality education to underserved communities.  Prior to joining Advocates for Children and Youth, Ebony was a project manager at a Big Bank working on regulatory report submission. She recently decided to transition to a full-time nonprofit sector career to follow her passion for youth and ensuring that all youth have access to a safe and positive educational experience.

Ebony’s work as Chapter Resources Coordinator:
“As the Chapter Resource Coordinator, I will serve as the first point of contact for the chapters when it comes to all things YNPN National. If you have any questions or concerns about anything, please feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer your question (or connect you to someone who can). I will also work with the Chapter Engagement Coordinator, Adrian, to ensure that we are offering programming and information that meets the needs of our diverse membership.”

Why Ebony applied for the Fellowship:
“As a new nonprofit professional, I felt that being a LaunchPad Fellow would provide a unique opportunity for me to not only help others build their communities and capacity as leaders, but also allow me to develop my leadership skills in a realm and in a way that I had not been previously exposed to.”

Some things you wouldn’t know about Ashley from her resume:
“In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, and dream chasing.”

How you can connect with Ebony:


JessJessJessica Jesswein
(Minneapolis, MN)
Conference Coordinator 


Jess Jesswein is the Project Coordinator at the Uptown Association (UA) in Minneapolis, MN. The Uptown Association is a nonprofit organization that promotes the Uptown neighborhood as a safe, prosperous, accessible, well maintained and environmentally-responsible commercial and residential area. It also exists to improve the economic stability and vitality of Uptown and to celebrate its unique spirit and sense of community. The association is also the producer of the Uptown Art Fair, the second largest event in Minnesota, which attracts over 375,000 event attendees every year. Jess is responsible for managing over 70 different projects as well as running the operations piece of the Uptown Art Fair.

Jess’ prior professional experience was at the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys as an Events Specialist for their 100th anniversary, and she then was a Corporate and Foundation Giving Officer with the organization.

Jess’s work as Conference Coordinator:
“I will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the YNPN annual conference in June of 2014 in Minneapolis. I’ll work closely with the YNPN Twin Cities Planning committee to bring all the plans together and implement them to create an exciting conference for all leaders in the YNPN network.”

Why Jess applied for the Fellowship:
“I love working in the nonprofit sector and really believe that we (as nonprofit employees) are able to make a difference in our communities if we work together. I applied for the fellowship in hopes that I would be able to meet other nonprofit professionals, as well as use my skills to help host an amazing conference for leaders in the industry.”

Some things you wouldn’t know about Jess from her resume:
“My favorite thing to do is travel. I recently went to Paris and have caught the travel bug. I also am obsessed with thought catalog and blog posts/articles about 20-somethings.”

How you can connect with Jess:

jamie_smithJamie Smith 
(Austin, TX)
Communications Coordinator


I work with nonprofit organizations to amplify their impact with clear and compelling communications. As a freelance writer and content strategist, I love helping organizations across the nonprofit sector connect with their supporters.

I graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Public Policy and have a Master’s degree in Communication from Northwestern. In addition to my book learnin’, I’ve worked with nonprofit organizations, technology companies, and travel brands to create informative and entertaining content.

After living in Chicago for nine years, I recently moved to Austin, Texas. When I’m not working, I’m reading, traveling, and trying to scale Austin’s outsized hills on my bike.

Jamie’s work as Communications Coordinator:
“Officially, I’ll be managing communications, social media, and public relations for YNPN. But really I’ll be using these tools to connect with our members and chapters in order to create spaces where we can share ideas and leverage the power of our network.”

Why Jamie applied for the Fellowship:
“I’ve been a member of YNPN in both Chicago and Austin, and I’ve found the network to be a vital source of support, connection, and inspiration. I’ve experienced the potential this network has to change careers and lives and I wanted to be part of that movement.”

Some things you wouldn’t know about Jamie from her resume:
“Pugs are my spirit animal. I don’t even own one, but for me they’re the troll dolls of the animal kingdom: so ugly that they’re cute.”

How you can connect with Jamie:

Headshot_McCloskeyMichelle McCloskey 
(Brooklyn, NY)
Partnerships Coordinator


I am currently a logistics coordinator for a firm that specializes in recruiting executive level positions for nonprofits.  Over the past few years, I’ve worn many hats working at both large and small nonprofits; doing everything from teaching civics and English literature to project management and human rights activism. In 2013, I started my own small nonprofit that focuses on providing quality resources for learning less commonly taught, diaspora, and endangered languages.

I graduated from the University of Texas-Austin with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Turkish Language and Literature and have Master’s degree in Public Policy from Drexel University.  I’m originally from Texas but have been living on the East Coast for the past 7 years. In my down time I like to read, eat, reminisce about the best state in the Union, and marathon shows on Netflix.

Michelle’s work as Partnerships Coordinator:
As Partnerships Coordinator, I’ll be working with the Partnerships Committee on the YNPN National Board of Directors, other nonprofit organizations, and companies interested in furthering the mission of YNPN and supporting our large and diverse membership base.  My job is to ensure that YNPN continues to expand its reach and services while also guaranteeing that current members and chapter needs are met.

Why Michelle applied for the Fellowship:
I first learned of YNPN when I moved to Brooklyn in 2011 and benefited immensely from many of the resources provided both on and offline.  When the Launchpad Fellowships opened up, I jumped at the chance to have a deeper involvement in the organization; helping YNPN members build their leadership skills as well as honing my own.

Some things you wouldn’t know about Michelle from her resume:
I love television and am addicted to South Korean soap operas.  I am also an unabashed cat lady and make a pretty mean Filipino adobo (those two facts are unrelated).

How you can connect with Michelle: