In 1998 I was a young foreign student who had just arrived from Venezuela with hopes of finding a job, finishing my bachelor’s degree and understanding the American culture a bit better. I remember being in a bus in Manchester, NH and having a Spanish speaking person approach me and engage in conversation. This seemingly random person gave me a referral to a job opening at a great community development financial institution. After I got called for an interview, I reached out to this person again to give him an update. His one piece of advice was: “just make sure you say you like to work with the community”. I wasn’t really sure what he meant by that, but somehow, when the moment was right, during my first interview I said it – and that’s how I landed my first job in community economic development.
|Flickr user naillkennedy Creative Commons|
|Trying not to lose the forest in the trees|
|Post-its from New Orleans NTI workshop|
I will be participating on a panel in the symposium, and will take part in two courses the other days. I am really looking forward to the week ahead, and was very excited when I learned the symposium theme was young professionals, perhaps because I still feel I fit that category. So three cheers for those of us “young people” and the connections we will make, and three cheers for NeighborWorks America for choosing that theme as a focus. It will be interesting to see if more opportunities open up in the field – and within the organizations sending staff – because of the symposium theme and the conversations it will generate.