April Featured Member

Meet Amanda "A.J." MacDonald of College Possible
YNPN Milwaukee's April Featured Member

AJ MacDonald

What is your experience in the nonprofit sector? 

My experiences in nonprofit began when I was in college, through volunteering roles with an after-school program, Habitat for Humanity and We Can Ride, an organization that facilitated therapeutic horseback riding for youth living with cognitive and/or physical disabilities. After college, I served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Milwaukee, and those two years drove home for me how significantly I was affected by fulfilling a role in which I felt positioned to contribute to real social change. I associated that fulfillment with the nonprofit sector, and since have worked at PEARLS for Teen Girls as a Development Associate, the Milwaukee Public Schools TEAM UP College Access Centers as an Advisor and currently at College Possible Milwaukee as its Communications & Development Associate.

College_Possible_Logo_with_Tag_Vert_2C_Hi_Res.jpgWhat is your favorite nonprofit event or program?

This question is tough to answer! I have trouble just pinpointing which social justice issue I think is the most urgent to address – it’s difficult to choose a favorite nonprofit event or program. I don’t have a favorite, but my experiences certainly have resulted in a soft spot and special appreciation for nonprofits that utilize the AmeriCorps model. It’s such an efficient and cost-effective model for equipping those who are most eager to apply their idealism to translate that desire into positive change for others. The investment in the growth and wellness of other human beings at all levels within an organization, as well as the results showing progress in the face of issues such as inequity in education, are elements that have been inspiring to see and be a part of at AmeriCorps organizations where I have worked.

Who do you look up to as a professional mentor or role model? 

I’ve experienced many different teams and leadership styles, and pinpointing one person that I credit with influencing me more than others while my character as a teammate and leader is taking shape is challenging. I have a deep appreciation for how enriching it has been to have experiences with a set of leaders and coworkers who have been diverse in personality, communication, and values. My own character and style are becoming more defined with every professional experience, and with every team and set of leaders I work with. 

How has networking proven beneficial to you? 

As an introvert, networking can take a lot of energy for me – which also means that establishing a connection with someone new can be especially meaningful to me. I’m so intrigued and inspired by what has motivated someone else to commit to what they’re passionate about, and what their path to their current role was. I love the opportunity to have that inspiring conversation, and to find the relatable experiences we share through our professionals journeys. 

How did you become involved with YNPN Milwaukee?

I am a member of YNPN through College Possible’s Organizational Membership.

Connect with Amanda!

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