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:
- AdrianGaston Garcia (Washington, DC) - Chapter Engagement Coordinator
- Ebony Harley (Baltimore, MD) - Chapter Resources Coordinator
- Jessica Jesswein (St. Louis Park, MN) - Conference 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.
Chapter Engagement Coordinator
Chicago native and graduate of Marquette University with a degree in Criminology & Law Studies as well as Social Welfare & Justice, Adrian Garcia currently serves as the Program Integration and Partnership Information Manager for the SEIU. Adrian was a summer fellow for Organizing for America. Upon completion of this fellowship, Adrian worked for former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. Later he moved to the Senator’s re-election campaign, focusing on Latino outreach across Wisconsin. After a tough loss, Adrian moved to Washington, D.C. to serve as the Executive Assistant for Voto Latino’s CEO/President Maria Teresa Kumar and later became the organization’s Chief of Staff. During his time at Voto Latino, Adrian launched and oversaw several programs and established the Voto Latino Action Fund, the organization’s 501(c)4 branch. In his current role at SEIU, Adrian works closely with the Strategic Partnerships and Alliances Department to keep track of all collaborative efforts and helps build and maintain those relationships. As the Chapter Engagement Coordinator for the Young Nonprofit Professional Network (YNPN), Adrian works closely with Ebony Harley, the Chapter Resources Coordinator, to provide support to the YNPN chapter network.
Adrian’s work as Chapter Engagement Coordinator:
“As the Chapter Engagement Coordinator for the Young Nonprofit Professional Network (YNPN), I work closely with Ebony Harley, the Chapter Resources Coordinator, to provide support to the YNPN chapter network. Through the use of conference calls and webinars, I help facilitate chapter interaction and create a platform where chapter leaders and members can exchange ideas with one another and learn best practices to further their development.”
Why Adrian applied for the Fellowship:
“I am invested in helping young professionals working in the nonprofit sector further their career and I believe that peer-to-peer mentorship is an excellent way to engage these communities and achieve this goal. Knowing the challenges that limited funding imposes on nonprofits and its staff, professional development is not always at the forefront of many organizations’ mission. Having benefited first-hand from professional mentorship programs in the past, I was able to cultivate deep relationships and use them as a tool and sounding board to further my professional growth. To this day, I attribute my success to many of my mentors and hope to recreate a similar structure with the YNPN network.”
Some things you wouldn’t know about Adrian from his resume:
“I love spoken word poetry and you can catch me performing at random coffee shops and cafes across DC.”
How you can connect with Adrian:
- Twitter: @AdrianGaston
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:
(St. Louis Park, MN)
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. In addition to her work at UA, she will be attending Hamline University in St. Paul, MN for her Masters of Nonprofit Management in the Spring of 2014.
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:
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: