Meet Mitsy Chanel-Blot, Executive Manager and Director of Special Projects at United South End Settlements. Mitsy is also Director of Operations for YNPN Boston!
Job Title: Executive Manager and Director of Special Projects
Organization: United South End Settlements
Time living in the Boston area: Two and a half years.
Favorite thing about Boston: I love how everything is so close to everything else! It's also pretty wild to see how neighborhoods remain so distinct in spite of being geographically close.
Brief description of your job: I work directly for the President and Chief Executive Officer, supporting the administrative, logistical and operational needs of the executive team. I am also working on tracking our organization-wide outcomes, so that we can better measure our impact on the individuals and families we serve.
Quote that inspires your work: I'm not one to whip out quotes, but I very recently heard one that resonated with me (and is also very reflective of my work philosophy): "Many people miss an opportunity because it is often disguised as hard work," author unknown. We are definitely living in an age where there is a huge premium placed on loving what you do, but often in order to get to that point you need to wade through the mud a bit. It can be really hard to push beyond our comfort zone, but hopefully the payoff makes the hard part worth it.
Other organizational affiliations: I float in and out of organizations as I try to find my niche.
Describe your professional journey up to this point: I was in graduate school for most of my 20s. Toward the end of my studies I decided I didn't want to pursue the academic track, but I had very little work experience to succeed outside of academia. I decided to do two years of AmeriCorps at a national anti-poverty nonprofit in order to get some "real world" experience. Once my contract was up, I used my connections and joined the team at United South End Settlements. I am very grateful to everyone who has believed in me and supported my non-academic professional journey, especially my boss.
One piece of advice for someone starting their professional life: I would say a good tip is to not be afraid of making mistakes early on. I always put pressure on myself to "know" so that I’m not seen as incompetent, but I think it has prevented me from taking bigger chances. As cliché as it sounds, those mistakes are where you learn the most, and they give you a better sense of where you can invest your time. Added bonus: they can become go-to responses to "Tell me about a time..." interview questions!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I am really aiming to do management consulting for nonprofits and join a firm within the next 3 to 5 years. I love the idea of working on new projects every few months or years, and helping organizations develop strategies to improve and broaden their impact. Ideally I would work in the social sector, but I am open to learning about new fields, such as health care or innovative technologies. I am also extremely interested in getting more international experience; I think it is vital to learn from other countries and cultures.
Favorite thing about your job: I get to work with a wonderful team of people who believe in the organization's mission and work hard to fulfill it, whether it’s through managing the program, supporting staff, or fundraising. Plus, they're all really awesome people; I'm grateful that I get to laugh regularly at work!