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Capability Company

A Message from our President

Happy New Year!

As January begins, I am reminded that a new calendar isn’t just an opportunity to start fresh with promises and hope, but also the challenge to continue to do the right thing and stay true to our core. We think of starting over at this time of year, but we often forget that not everything needs upgrading…maybe just recharging.

One of the ways I recharge professionally is to remember why I am doing this - what inspired me to make the decision to focus my career in the nonprofit sector is key to my ongoing success and happiness in this field. Recently, I wondered what inspired each of you to choose to serve nonprofit organizations, too, so I asked in our ezine last month. Read all about it and remind yourself about your own inspiration.

And, in staying true to our core, we continue to provide resources and support to our clients and colleagues. Stay in touch with us and let us know what is happening in your part of the world and how we can help.

All the best,

Sherry Heuser
President, Capability Company

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Article of the Month

Word count: 834
Approximate Reading Time: 5 Minutes

2013 Survey Results

We ask young children what they want to be when they grow up; we ask high school seniors what they will declare as their major in college; we ask new graduates what they plan to do with their degrees. However, we don't often ask why. Do we know what appeals to them about that career or what inspired them to consider it an option? Do we understand what is the core that will keep them coming back day after day, job after job? These answers may be better indicators of career happiness, success, and longevity - the details of what we do and how we do it may change as we evolve, but the reason why likely won't.

For me, there wasn't a single a-ha moment when I realized I would dedicate my career to serving nonprofit organizations, but rather multiple decisions I made (and sometimes un-made or re-made) that continued to bring me back to my core - helping people, solving puzzles, and making connections. Whatever route we each took, we are all in the nonprofit sector because something caught our attention and spoke to us, because we realized we had a skill we didn't recognize before, or because we never quite let go of something meaningful. And here we are.

I knew my story, but was curious to know how you got "here", too. Throughout my career, I learned that hearing other people's stories of inspiration (not necessarily inspiring messages, but rather the descriptions of what, how, or why they were inspired), helped me revisit my own calling, refocus my energy, or refine my path. So, I asked: Tell us how you began your career in the nonprofit sector. What inspired you to take on this challenge?

You answered. With varied responses clearly reflecting different directions, eras, and passions, you shared a bit about your path. Below are some of your comments - I hope they will inspire you to look more closely at your own "why" and recharge your commitment to this valuable sector.

"I worked at a residential children's program during the summer in college. Subsequently, I followed the exercises in the most excellent book, What Color is Your Parachute? and got a job with an agency that offered youth programs. There I developed programs and pursued funding. After writing 3 successful grant proposals (including a federal grant), I took a couple of seminars to figure out what I was doing right. And then kept doing it for 30 years or so - the last 12 as a consultant."

"My pastor inspired me to take on the challenge when he recommended that my background and skills were very suitable to service in the nonprofit sector. With his assistance, I landed my first nonprofit job back in 1997 and have not had one regret since."

"I had volunteered at organizations, but never considered this as a possible profession until after I participated in a 60-mile walk for breast cancer. I decided then to pursue a master's degree in nonprofit management and begin my career in the health nonprofit field with a focus on curing cancer."

"I have a sister with special needs. She inspired me to volunteer. My appreciation for volunteers and non-profits motivated me to look for professional work in the industry. I have been a part of the non-profit industry for over 20 years, both as staff and volunteer."

"Working on community projects in high school, building a youth center, business partnerships between young people and area business leaders, counseling younger people - etc. [inspired me]."

"I moved to a different community and wanted to make new friends, in particular, women friends. I heard about a nonprofit women's fund that was in need of volunteers to find sponsorships for a first-ever golf outing. I plunged into the challenge even though I knew no one and I had limited experience making asks. I met many new people, learned I had an hidden talent and was able to provide important funding dollars for the special needs of women and girls."

"[My inspiration came from] working with people who required that little extra push and compassion and caring."

"Making money where no one else was bothering to tread in 1963."

"Not wanting to leave the energy of a University environment put me on a 25-year path of various College and University administration positions."

"I was medic in the United States Navy serving on a ship off the coast of Viet Nam. We helped rescue boat people from Southeast Asia. A few years later I became involved with refugee ministries in western Michigan and once again when I moved to the Chicago area. Very simply I saw something that needed to be done and got other people to help accomplish the goals and helped people along the way."

"I thought it was important to do something with meaning."

Thank you for sharing your inspirations. Why you do what you do is important to me, to your colleagues, and to the organizations we support.

Bottom Line: Our inspirations to serve nonprofit organizations come from many sources, but we all saw a need, found a fit, or captured an opportunity, and have been challenging ourselves to make a difference ever since.

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Event Calendar

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In This Issue

Current Searches
Article of the Month
The Bottom Line
Event Calendar


A Client's Perspective

"It has been great to work throughout the engagements...I believe that you guys found two great fits for our organization and working has been a great positive experience.”

William Reich
Oblate Missionary Society

Heard Around Town

"Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man."

~ Ben Franklin

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