Friday, August 10, 2012

NextGenCD: Unlimited Potential

In honor of the upcoming NeighborWorks America Young Professionals symposium, we have collected several blog posts from those under 35 asking their feelings on the meaning of community development. Share your comments on Twitter using #NextGenCD.

Isaiah Dawson,
NeighborWorks America
Community Scholar Intern
When I started my job, I thought that I was going to be a community scholar intern working directly on a summer social media research project. However, since the northeast regional staff is so small at NeighborWorks America, I ended up supporting the company and our network organizations in many different ways by using my prior knowledge of marketing and social media. I’ve since taken a greater interest in the development of social media strategy and training, and this has greatly affected my professional and personal growth. All this was made possible by the great people and culture at my nonprofit.

Nonprofits are becoming an ideal career destination for young people because new hires are exposed to various career paths, gain the skills they need quickly, and take on a great deal of responsibility early on in their careers.  By contrast, I've found private sector roles are much more formally and strictly defined, which means that it’s harder to try your hand at something new without changing jobs or acquiring years of experience. As a recent college grad, I am very appreciative for the opportunity to gain valuable new skills which will translate into opportunities down the road.

a word cloud of this blog entry created with Wordle,
an online word cloud generator
Right now, I feel virtually unlimited potential in developing my own unique career path.  I love that I’ve been able to have a great deal of responsibility at a young age and have become a consultant specializing in a particular area. My social media skills will be useful for years to come because nonprofit leaders increasingly realize the power of social marketing, and they value the expertise and insight of young professionals who understand the digital environment. Everything I'm doing now is setting me up for future success.

For me, though, the greatest advantage of working in community development is the easy access to everyone at all levels of the organization. I can share ideas and opinions with anyone, no matter their title. This openness is what makes nonprofits an ideal destination for young professionals interested in making a difference in the world.