Sunday, September 23, 2007


Click Here to take survey

I want to do research during my PhD that is helpful and useful. However I can't do this research without you. My first conference paper is about using blogs and wikis as professional development tools for nonprofit managers.

A while ago I posted this entry:

"If you read the Nonprofit Management and Operations blog or participated in a brown bag lunch discussion--please take a few minutes to provide me your feedback and let me know whether or not these devices were beneficial to your professional development."

Click Here to take survey

Please....I need more people to complete this survey, so I can encourage the world of academia that blogs and wikis are tools that can be used for nonprofit managers professional development!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Preparing to be a Professor

I started my PhD to become a professor and teach nonprofit management. So, I'm trying to get as much teaching experience as possible. The funny thing is the majority of PhD programs out there don't teach students how to teach--they teach them how to do research. Then when students graduate, they get into professor positions and teach without having any formal training. We need to change this system!

I'm thankful that I'm able to do research for the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit Research, however I really want to learn how to be a great teacher and professor too. And, there aren't any Nonprofit Teaching Assistantships at my school. So, I'm forging my own way.

I established a relationship with John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, CA's Continuing Education department and I already started teaching 1 day seminars for nonprofit managers. (The majority of these seminars are happening in spring '08, and some will be online courses--I'll post more information about these seminars when it becomes available.)

They are:
  1. Jumpstart Your Passion: How to Successfully Start and Run Your Own Nonprofit Organization.
  2. How to Improve Your Nonprofit Operations in Less Than Two Months.
  3. Advanced Topics in Fundraising: Annual Campaigns, Planned Giving, Event Planning, Cause Related Marketing, and Grant Writing Strategies.
  4. Succession Planning in Your Nonprofit: Preparing for the Next Generation of Leaders.
Next, I'll be approaching all the nonprofit professors at my school and ask them if I can either be a teaching assistant or co-teach a with them.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Belated: Things I learned in my first week as a PhD student

Last week was my first week of classes. I'm learning a lot about leadership problems from Ronald Heifetz's book, "Leadership without Easy Answers." He talks about technical or solvable problems--like an accounting error vs. adaptive problems-like the war on drugs, that cannot easily be solved. Adaptive problems often include a lot of anxiety, however anxiety to an extent is healthy and necessary in order to move things along. Adaptive problems are often figured out by bringing the power back to the people, this provides more anxiety but ultimately, people come up with a solution that works for them.

Heifetz also talks about a concept of getting on the balcony and being able to see how our own perspectives affect situations. Something we discussed in both classes is the concept of perspective and how our perspectives are shaped by everything around us and to be open to new perspectives of seeing things.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Being Director

I feel like I am very lucky to come into a stable organization with great team to work with. I am excited to be able to provide strategic direction for the organization as well as utilize all my other skills like fundraising and operations. At one point I didn't want to be ED of any organization, however I feel like I am meant to be here at the Foundation and it is a wonderful role for me to be in. As my Executive coach would say, "I'm in the honeymoon stage of my job."

I do have more work than I can ever get done, and I am humbled like I thought I would be because I'm at the helm now and balancing the priorities of the organization. Already in my first week of classes, studying leadership has challenged me to think differently as the authority figure in my organization.

Dual Roles--Nonprofit Manager and Doctoral Student

I came to San Diego to pursue my PhD and do research in the Caster Center for Applied Nonprofit Research. However, after I arrived I couldn't help but get involved with a local nonprofit too. What can I say--I love what I do!! I was offered the opportunity to serve as part-time Director of the Jenna Druck Foundation, a wonderful nonprofit founded in 1996 to honor the legacy of Jenna who passed away at age 21. We have two wonderful programs--Families Helping Families, which provides grief support to parents who are grieving over the loss of their child. And the Young Women's Leadership program which provides leadership development opportunities for High School girls.

Now my schedule is jam packed with school and work and I am working really hard to manage my priorities so I can be a successful student, research assistant, and nonprofit manager. I am excited, nervous, confidant and determined in my dual roles and I am grateful for the opportunity to apply my leadership training and education in my work place.

I may not be blogging as much as I originally planned to due to my super busy schedule however I'll do my best to share what I'm learning in both roles--the good and the challenging.