North Bellmore, NY
In 2008, my financial services job in New York was cut as part of massive layoffs at the onset of the economic downturn. When that happened, I felt this was God carving a path for me to do something more personally meaningful.
I was embedded for a year at Urban Pathways, one of the leading nonprofits in New York City, providing shelter and services to the homeless population. Many of the organization’s clients are afflicted with mental illness, substance abuse, incarceration and lack of employment – all areas of need that I am personally passionate about. It’s wonderful to see the joy experienced by individuals who are helped to qualify for permanent housing – something they haven’t had in years.
The assignment made great use of the skill sets from my career in financial services. In that sense, it was, for me, an easy transition. I was brought on board to implement an agency-wide performance management program to improve employee effectiveness and retention. I reviewed the organization’s policies with an eye towards motivating employees with recognition, rewards and incentives across the nearly dozen programs they run.
“The Encore Fellowship came at the perfect time for our organization. Carmine had a unique ability to listen and collect feedback for the management team, an unexpected benefit. Without her insights, we would not be where we are now in our next phase of growth.”
— Ron Abad, COO, Urban Pathways
My advice to others making a transition from corporate to nonprofit? The adjustment can take time. Working with Fortune 500 companies, as I had, there were clear structures. Often, in nonprofits, those are not in place. On top of that, you are inevitably working with scarce resources. Had Urban Pathways not set aside funding for fellowship, it is unlikely that the important changes we are implementing would have taken place.
I have put my all into this work, and the personal fulfillment is great. My fellowship has helped create momentum for Urban Pathways to meet its mission, improve their capacity and, for me, to leave a lasting positive social impact.