Channeling Wisdom: Nakia Navarro, New England Regional Director, Let's Get Ready

Nakia Navarro, New England Regional Director, manages the Boston office of Let’s Get Ready (LGR),which provides low-income high school students with support services to gain college admission. She is responsible for supporting and creating LGR programs in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and soon Vermont. Prior to joining the organization, Nakia was Director of Development at Elizabeth Seton Academy in Dorchester, serving a large number of first generation college bound students. She has also held development positions with the American Red Cross, Community Food Rescue in Charlotte, N.C. and was the CEO of IsReal Imagination, a business development and consulting firm. Nakia originally hails from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. She received her Bachelor's degree in Public Administration with a minor in Spanish from Winthrop University; a Certificate in Global Communications from the University of Salamanca; has completed her first novel, the Everdeen, SC series; and is currently working on her Master's in Public Administration.


About Nakia
Nakia Navarro, New England Regional Director, manages the Boston office of Let’s Get Ready (LGR),which provides low-income high school students with support services to gain college admission. She is responsible for supporting and creating LGR programs in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and soon Vermont. Prior to joining the organization, Nakia was Director of Development at Elizabeth Seton Academy in Dorchester, serving a large number of first generation college bound students. She has also held development positions with the American Red Cross, Community Food Rescue in Charlotte, N.C. and was the CEO of IsReal Imagination, a business development and consulting firm. Nakia originally hails from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. She received her Bachelor's degree in Public Administration with a minor in Spanish from Winthrop University; a Certificate in Global Communications from the University of Salamanca; has completed her first novel, the Everdeen, SC series; and is currently working on her Master's in Public Administration.

We asked Nakia to share her wisdom about nonprofit leadership. Learn more from Nakia at YNPN Boston's event, Channeling Wisdom: Young Nonprofit Leaders Speak Out, in Boston on January 21, 2014.

What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means, through strategic action, having the ability to gather and motivate a group of people interested in achieving a goal.

What is your leadership style?
I'm all about 'teamwork'. No one's voice is unimportant in my cadre of phenomenal people. I like to hear opinions before making decisions to ensure that all have bought into the idea as well as understand any compromises necessary to reach the desired outcome.

Can you share an example of a time when you successfully led a team through a challenging time or scenario?
Hiring an entire new staff while being new to the organization was undoubtedly a trying time. I was able to manage the situation by taking on roles my position wouldn't necessarily manage until I was able to find the 'right' staff members...members who were vested in achieving goals I had set in place.

What advice do you have for nonprofit professionals trying to build their leadership in 2014?
1. Seek a mentor! Your mentor should be a key figure in the area in which you are hoping to work.

2. Listen to your staff! Don't give them a task if they don't have the skills necessary to complete it. Provide training whenever they ask or whenever you see a need. If ever you have to 'overwork' a staff member, explain the reason and time period in which they will have to take on this task.

3. Set boundaries, but never micromanage! When assigning a task, always give a reasonable deadline. If for some reason the deadline is unreasonable, explain the reason for the short time frame.

4. NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK! There will be instances when you'll encounter a situation with which you’re unfamiliar. It's always nice to pick up the phone and call someone in a similar position to lean on their experience. Also, they may be able to recommend contractors (lawyers, HR consultants, etc) to help you get through the problem.

What leadership resources have you found useful?


About Let's Get Ready
nonprofit, Let's Get Ready
Let's Get Ready provides low-income high school students with free SAT preparation, admissions counseling and other support services needed to gain admission to and graduate from college. Trained college student volunteers deliver these services and offer encouragement, inspiration and confidence.Learn more at www.letsgetready.org.


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