YNPN Boston’s Chris Herron Professional Development Fund awarded its first grants in the fall of 2018. Geovanna Hernandez, a program manager with Peer Health Exchange, was one of our first grant recipients. We checked in with Geo to find out about her experience!
What made you decide to apply?
In my experience working in nonprofits, there is usually no money or resources available for professional development. If there are resources set aside, you are sometimes required to attend specific trainings that may or may not be aligned with your interests or growth goals. I decided to apply for the Chris Herron Professional Development Fund grant because I was excited by the opportunity to choose my own professional development opportunity with little restriction.
With your grant, what PD opportunity were you able to complete?
With my grant, I was able to attend a 7-week racial equity training series for emerging leaders. This series was created to help newer nonprofit leaders build skills in organizational change, investigate personal biases, and build community to address pressing racial equity issues in the nonprofit sector.
How did that opportunity improve, enhance, or otherwise benefit your career?
In addition to learning new skills and concrete tools to address challenges in my workplace, the best thing this opportunity did was connect me with a cohort of other nonprofit professionals of color who had similar experiences to me. This helped build community and a sense of belonging that I hadn’t been able to do on my own before.
What were some key takeaways or next steps that came out of that opportunity?
A next step coming out of this experience was to create a staff of color affinity group for Peer Health Exchange’s Boston office. I also worked closely with my program director to plan staff conversations about white supremacy culture.
Do you have any tips for someone getting started in the nonprofit sector?
Larger nonprofits usually have more resources, but I’ve found I prefer smaller to medium nonprofits because of the small team sizes and more individualized support. There’s also more opportunity to give input to senior leaders and be involved in whole-organization initiatives. My advice would be to intern or get experience in nonprofits of different sizes to get a sense of what works best for you.
You can find Geo on LinkedIn.