The following exchange took place in the ExecuNet Forum, where members can pose "Ask the Expert" questions and get them answered. In this case, another member replied.
Q: I am considering a move into the nonprofit realm, and would like to understand where my background best fits.
My nonprofit interest lies in regional development, millennium development goals and helping those in poverty or adverse circumstances to help themselves.
My background lies in each area of business: operations management, mainly in printing and packaging; global business development; a certified management accounting designation; and general management in biotech, diagnostics more specifically.
DrWendy [another member] :
I have always integrated my business skills with nonprofit. I was recruited from the business sector (background in marketing and sales at telecom companies and training and development at Hewlett-Packard) to “jump start” a continuing education program at a community college in Southern California. This is a career you might want to consider.
There are 1300 community colleges in the U.S. (and another 1500 universities) that have continuing education programs that want to expand in “local business training contracts” and workplace training course offerings. Colleges don't understand a revenue-driven organization so they need an “outsider” to show them how to make money. With your personal goal in mind, most of the programs and training opportunities are at the entry-level for people who need to get basic skills and training to pull themselves out of poverty.
I personally think education is the key to help people help themselves. Your biotech background would also open opportunities for you to teach part-time at the community college. Your business skills are needed. The question is, do you have the patience to overcome the uphill battle of working within an education organization that cannot make quick decisions? It took me three years to learn how to influence. You will need a master’s degree to work in the higher education industry. Job postings can be found in the Community College Journal at Association of American Community Colleges (AACC) or just check your local community college websites. You have to dig deep in the websites with keywords such as: career technical training; continuing education; community education; workforce training; business and industry training.
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