Turning Passion into (Non) Profit

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People Spotlight: Angie Espinal, Director of People & Strategy, Outreach

Nonprofit organizations are institutions that advocate for and conduct affairs on behalf of other individuals, groups, or [social] causes rather than operating to make profit for themselves. Such organizations play an important role in building healthy communities by fostering civic engagement and leadership, driving economic growth, and strengthening community foundations. Every one benefits from the work of America’s over one million nonprofits which feed, heal, shelter, educate, inspire, enlighten, and nurture individuals of every age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status within American borders and beyond.

Meet Angie Espinal, a passionate HR professional with over 10 years of experience working in the non-profit sector. Angie always knew she wanted to make an impact on the people and the world around her and so she began her career as an HR Generalist working for a New York City-based child welfare agency. Loving her work and ready to progress, she moved on to an HR Manager role at another non-profit organization that provided children with after school programs and built schools globally. Today, Angie is the proud Director of People Ops and HR Strategy at a substance abuse treatment center known as Outreach.

Dedicated to being of service to her community, Angie approaches her work with the belief that people are our number one resource. “We spend more time at work than anywhere else in our lives”. Angie see’s day in and day out that these people, the employees she has the pleasure of working with, bring heart, soul and passion into the workplace. “It feels good to know that the people I hire and the initiatives I implement all have a bigger impact on the world.” A driving force behind Angie’s career is her commitment to service, which has helped propel her forward in her work. Angie understands that it is imperative to treat nonprofit talent with respect, and to give them the tools they need to live fulfilling lives, both in and out of the office, so that they can give their best in their daily work. Those hired to work in the non-profit sector are especially important individuals in the workplace, as they are what Angie refers to as the “people pillars” of an organization. 

We all have a passion. We all want to want to wake up and want to go to work. It’s how Angie feels about her career. She believes in turning passion into [non]profit, or in other words, doing what you love and making a career out of it, and she hopes that in the programs implemented, she can provide her employees with that same feeling.

Key takeaway messages from our conversation:

1. Provide for your employees: In benefits, continuing education opportunities and more, provide your employees with the resources they need to succeed and they will give their best selves to the mission of the non-profit.
2. Get Involved: Interact with your employees. Rolls up your sleeves and do what they are doing. Anything Angie has ever asked her employees to do, she has done herself or is willing to do it with them as well. 
3. Value Your Teams: Show those employees that your hire that you value them. Show them compassion and respect.
4. Hire the right person to provide the right services and you can heal whole communities. Angie uses LinkedIn to attract candidates and leads with the concept of ‘company pride’. She aims to use LinkedIn to show her employees where they’re going or where they can go with the company, and hopes her approach allows prospective candidates to see themselves with the organization. She utilizes LinkedIn to have recruitment conversations with people, conversations that are engaging and meant to build connection. Her goal is to engage people and capture their attention, to build a relationship first, and then recruit.  
5. More than One “Thing”: To be successful you don’t have to choose one thing. Angie’s passion for making an impact led her not only to her career in the non-profit sector, but to starting two of her own companies. She heads an independent consultancy, assisting other companies with their HR needs, and co-owns another called ‘Plan It Manifested’, a business focused on women who experience imposter syndrome/ superwomen syndrome. Imposter syndrome is the collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. It’s characterized by chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. Angie believes that humans are capable of success beyond their imagination, that we are our only barrier, and so she offers workshops that help individuals knock down those barriers by creating safe spaces for vulnerable conversation, implementing exercises like self-reflection and professional role play. 

When asked if Angie had any last words for our reader, this is what she ended with this: “Where we are in life, our work should complement it, not dominate it. I believe in work/life balance and in the concept of co-creating spaces. We are all responsible for our spaces and have to take ownership for ourselves and responsibility for those with whom we work”. 

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