NONPROFIT MANAGEMENT

DIKSHANT MALLA - IMPACT HUB, WEEK 3

Last week, I was given my first major assignment of the summer which was to create a report for quarterly/half-year report to the Abell Foundation. The report is mostly reporting metrics and evaluating our performance in the first six months since its inception. As I work on this assignment daily one thing that I have realized is that I love working with data and numbers. This really shocked me because I never saw myself as someone who would enjoy doing the more trivial, yet important work. I always assumed since I was a creative person, I would enjoy the communications and programming aspect of the organization. However, since working at Impact Hub one thing I have realized it that while I love coming up with new ideas for events or programs, I am not the best at following through with my vision. I have come to the realization that I tend to focus on the big picture and the final outcome instead of the small details that make the outcome happen. While this was difficult to accept at first, I have now learned to embrace it.
I think what I like about doing metrics/operations work is that the results are tangible. I am a very impatient person so the fact that when you work on metrics you see the results is most likely the reasons for why I like doing the work in the first place!

TARAH FITZGERALD - UNITED WORKERS, WEEK 3

The man stands up and raises his voice challenging my supervisor on her intentions. I slump into my chair, trying to hide from the discomfort in the room. However, my supervisor remains poised, and calmly addresses the gentleman’s concerns sending him happily back to his seat and returning the meeting to focus. This was the scene at the Housing Round Table meeting last Thursday, where I finally got to attend a meeting where property owners, concerned citizens, stakeholders, and experts from several non-profits join together to discuss housing intervention within Baltimore. It was a particularly heated scene, with the sun beating down through the stain glass window and only a few very loud fans to keep us cool. The heat and the noise set the scene for a very dramatic event, yet the scene never did quite come to fruition. This is because my supervisor is a BOSS. She handles pressure like no one I have ever met. It was in this moment I grew even more amazed with her professionalism, and recognized I still have so much to learn from her community organizing skills. She can gain control of a room, not because she demands it, but because she is respectful, genuine and knows how to connect with people. I am very excited to be able to learn from her throughout the next month or so, in order to improve on these key leadership traits.

MOLLY HIRSHIK - FUSION PARTNERSHIPS, WEEK 3

There are 3 New Yorkers in the office at Fusion, which makes us almost a majority. Whenever we say something that’s the slightest bit negative, Ally says jokingly, “there’s a New Yorker for ya.” Ally is Baltimore born and bred and is in charge of the community small grants program that Fusion is piloting. She works on the ground in East Baltimore to community organize.
One of the New Yorkers is Nancy, the accounting assistant, who has been with Fusion for two years and is leaving in August, and has grown more outspoken, in a good way, about the changes Fusion is capable of. The other New Yorker is Kristina, the operations consultant helping out Fusion’s revitalization over the past six months. Before I even knew that Nancy and Kristina were from New York, I saw commonalities between the three of us. We were always the cynics in the room, the ones questioning the means to the end and how we would get from square one to square two. That’s not to say we only shoot down ideas—quite the opposite. But there is a certain internal curiosity ticking in our heads. I realized this when Kristina and I would lock eyes in a mixture of disbelief and mild terror when one of the full time Fusion staff would describe a process to her that was either very off-the-cuff or nonexistent altogether.
New Yorkers have gotten a bad name for being dismissive, rude, and too fast-paced. While I admit to being a fast walker, I would say that I’m quite the opposite in other respects. I am very curious and enjoy asking a lot of questions about the ins and outs of things. Growing up in Manhattan helped me nurture this curiosity into a healthy skepticism of the status quo. Being around so many people and the ever-changing atmosphere, you learn to be a bit guarded in accepting things as truth.
There are the employees at Fusion who are the visionaries. They are avoidant of confrontation. They have the dreams and ideals that propel Fusion forward. They are the project starters. Then there are the traditionalists. They remind everyone what Fusion is and what it stands for. They respect the culture it has built over the years and are true to it. They are wary of change because they already know how to do everything with their eyes closed. The dreamers convince them to open them.
Some of these dreamers are also traditionalists too. Some of the New Yorkers act like dreamers. Some of the traditionalists act like New Yorkers. No one fits a single mold. But zooming out from the individual level, what makes this so special is the fusion of these unique individuals. A delicate balance has been forged, not spontaneous, but over many years of careful and deliberate craft. Everyone respects the balance. However, this doesn’t mean that tipping the balance is forbidden. In fact, rocking the boat has been embraced wholeheartedly by Fusion these past few months with their internal restructuring and growth. But the mostly-harmonious blend of characters is what keeps Fusion going, and it’s been amazing to realize where I’m starting to fit into the mix, while also realizing my simultaneous ephemerality and impact in its future.