Local Leaders Offer Insight Into World of NonprofitsApril 23, 2013

From left to right: Mary Mooney Burns, ’93, Jeromy Rutledge, Khary Floyd and Andres Dominguez.

Students within Rockhurst University’s introduction to nonprofit organizations class heard from local leaders as part of a classroom panel discussion on Tuesday, April 23.

Panel members included Mary Mooney Burns, ’93, vice president of marketing and communications for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City; Jeromy Rutledge, director of sponsorships and business development at Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City; Khary Floyd, senior district executive for Boy Scouts of America, Heart of America Council; and Andres Dominguez, program officer at the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

Each member of the panel began by telling the students about their typical workday.

“In the world of nonprofits, you’ll find that you have a virtual office,” said Dominguez. “We begin our day at breakfast meetings, followed by planning sessions, meetings with volunteers, donors and friends of the organizations. Many times, our day extends beyond the typical eight-hour workday with evening receptions and other events.”

Panelists were asked about why they love working in nonprofits, and each had a unique story to tell.

Rutledge, who had previously worked in a corporate environment for 18 years, said had an aha moment one afternoon when his youngest son asked him what he did for a living.

“I realized that what I was doing every day had a limited shelf life,” he said. “It got me thinking and I started on a quest that eventually led me to nonprofit. I love that each day something I have a part in will have a long-term, lasting effect.”

For Floyd, he admits that it’s the mentorship aspect of his job he loves most.

“I’ve worked with kids who start out thinking Boy Scouts isn’t for them, but after one camp experience they are hooked,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to watch them go from kids to college applicants – something many of them never thought was possible. I get to see this transformation and it is hugely rewarding.”

Panelists also offered advice for the students.

“Whether you end up at a nonprofit or for-profit, as Rockhurst alumni, we are men and women for and with others,” said Burns. “We carry that forward into whatever we do. Also, I encourage you to tap into the Rockhurst networks. Every job I’ve gotten has had a Rockhurst connection.”

Shelby Cowart, ’13, who hopes to work in the nonprofit industry, was inspired by the discussion.

“Meeting with people from the community really allows you to reflect upon your current class learnings,” said Cowart. “Panels like this provide an episodic mentoring experience which gives you insight into what different jobs entail.”

Learn more about Rockhurst’s nonprofit leadership studies program here.

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