Community Matters: The best job in the world, nylons and all
One of my fantasies is never to wear nylons again. I haven’t quite succeeded ” there is the Cadillac Ball after all.
I mention this because the most recent Tahoe Quarterly listed the editors’ picks for the 10 top Tahoe professions (see page 24). Listed as number three is “Nonprofit Executive: a fantastic way to serve the community, and you get paid to throw big parties and hobnob at swanky events.”
Sounds like a job that requires nylons and high heels.
Chaco Mohler, publisher of Tahoe Quarterly, is on Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation’s Grants Committee. These meetings start at 7:30 a.m. and, heaven knows, he can’t be held responsible for knowing that I’m not wearing nylons or high heels.
Beyond the fancy footwear, the Tahoe Quarterly called it right: Being an executive with a nonprofit in Tahoe is one of the best jobs, but let me offer my reasons.
So why is running a nonprofit organization the best job in Tahoe? It engages your heart and your head like no other profession in the world. First, like most small businesses, as the person in charge, you need to know a lot about everything ” accounting and cash flow management, personnel and labor law, negotiating leases and contracts, and understanding marketing and customer service. That’s the head part of the job. Everyday is different, challenging, and demanding.
Then there is the heart part of the job. On top of managing the business, nonprofit executives must also pay attention to two bottom lines. Not only do you need to operate in the black, but you also need to attend to the public benefit bottom line where you clearly demonstrate that you are making your part of the world better.
Since all of the work you do is made possible by the generosity of people who contribute to your nonprofit, there is an even greater demand for accountability; to work harder and more effectively to assure donors that their gifts are needed, appreciated and put to good use.
Moreover, through it all, you manage a staff of people, some who are paid and some who volunteer, whose motivations for getting up everyday are closely entwined with the mission of the organization. How often do you think employees of Ford wake up each morning hoping that their employer has built a hybrid that will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels? Many of my colleagues in the nonprofit world wake up thinking about how their actions today will make a better community tomorrow.
Nevertheless, there is a piece of running a nonprofit that is glamorous. Attending those events enables me to meet other people who dream of changing the world and who have the means to make it happen. My job at events is to find those people and figure out how to engage them in our community. I know if I can find the right person and connect him or her to the right organization or the right interest, then we have one more person who will give his or her time or money right here in Truckee-North Tahoe.
So when you go “hobnobbing at some swanky event” keep a look out for me in my nylons and high heels. And then open up your heart and your wallet and help me change our world here in Tahoe.