Monday, June 19, 2006

The summer issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review has a great articled called "What Business Execs Don't Know - But Should - About Nonprofits." The article features the findings of 11 high-level executives that made the switch from the for-profit sector to nonprofits.

One of my favorite quotes in the article is from William Novelli, the CEO of AARP, where he says, "[The nonprofit sector] goes beyond under-appreciated. CEOs are often disdainful of not-for-profit management. They think it’s undisciplined, nonquantified." But in fact, “it’s harder to succeed in the nonprofit world. For starters, nonprofits’ goals are both more complex and more intangible. “It may be hard to compete in the field of consumer packaged goods or electronics or high finance," he says, “but it’s harder to achieve goals in the nonprofit world because these goals tend to be behavioral. If you set out to do something about breast cancer in this country, or about Social Security solvency, it’s a hell of a lot harder to pull that off." And “it’s also harder to measure."

That in a nutshell sums up some of the misconceptions held by most of my classmates and even more of the for-profit recruiters. While these misconceptions don't necessarily hurt someone who wants to go into nonprofits post-Wharton, they definitely hinder someone trying to switch from nonprofits to for-profits.

The article sums up some of challenges and nuances in nonprofits. I wish every one of my classmates could have read the article before starting Wharton. It could be a huge step in helping those outside the sector "get" the sector.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I went to California this weekend to look for my new place. I am still stunned by the civility Northern Californians demonstrate. People actually smile at you. It's the weirdest thing. In Philly, people barely make eye contact. And I still can't get over how pedestrians rule on the Left Coast. I was in a parking lot, when a car started to back up. I stopped (because in Philly - the car will keep going, hit you, and then the driver will cuss YOU out for bumping into his/her car) and waited. The driver waived me by. I walked on, and the driver rolled down her window and apologized profusely. To me. For almost backing up. Weird place that California.

I found my place, so my anxiety over my move across the country is MUCH alleviated. I'm living in the suburbs. Yes, I know that means I'm not cool. Yes, I know that means I'm not hip. But guess what? I don't care. I'm a suburban girl. I was raised in rural and suburban communities. I don't really like living in the city. I don't like the dirt. I don't like the grime. I don't like the crime. And I REALLY don't like the lack of parking. I mean in what truly civilized place does one have to pay for parking when shopping? But I love the town I will be living in. I will be surrounded by green and trees, and shopping. Oh the shopping - WITH proper parking lots. I'll be in suburban heaven.

So I'll be commuting by BART. I like commuting via train. It's SO much better than driving. And after spending a week in Bay Area traffic - I think I'll skip driving (even with the super polite drivers).

Life in Philly is pretty mellow. I just bought some boxes to start packing my stuff. I'm really not looking forward to that. I hate packing. Plus it's weird this time. I feel like I'm packing up a chapter of my life. After undergrad, I moved to Philly. And so now almost a decade later, to move across the country, feels like I've just finished a good book. I'm always sad to finish a book that I'm really in to. It's like saying goodbye to a really good friend. Sure, you can re-read the book, but it's not the same. Leaving Philly is kind of like that. Although my life here was not always happy, and although I'm really READY to leave, I'm still a little sad. Or maybe I'm just a little scared. Philly is like a stinky security blanket. Even though I know it's time to put it away, it's still hard to let it go.

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