Non-Profit Leadership: Lessons from the Community

On Wednesday, March 1, the Women’s and Gender Resource Center hosted the event “Non-Profit Leadership: Lessons from the Community” as part of Dickinson College’s first annual Gender Week. As part of the theme of gender and leadership, the panel included four members of the greater Carlisle community: Robin Scaer (Executive Director of YWCA Carlisle), Elaine Livas (Founder and former Executive Director of Project SHARE of Carlisle), Trinette Ream (Social Services Director of the The Salvation Army in Carlisle), and Safronia Perry (Assistant Executive Director of Hope Station in Carlisle). The panel was moderated by Center for Service, Spirituality, and Social Justice Director Donna Hughes.

The panel began with each community member introducing themselves and describing their organization’s missions. Robin’s position as Executive Director of YWCA Carlisle allows her to work toward empowering women and eliminating racism, including helping victims of sexual assault in the greater Carlisle community. She hires and supervises employees and oversees most of the organization’s events. These are skills she discussed with the audience during the Q&A session when asked about employment immediately following graduation from college. Elaine described Project SHARE’s mission of feeding the low-income families of the Carlisle community who exist right outside the sphere of Dickinson College, where food is always available. Trinette talked about The Salvation Army’s multiple projects that also serve to feed the poor and homeless in the local area, and the impact her inclusive leadership skills have on her work. Finally, Safronia discussed Hope Station’s multiple programs for young children who come after school for a simple healthy snack or to finish schoolwork at the Homework Club. Many of these organizations collaborate on projects and exist to help those in need in the local community.

Donna Hughes facilitated conversation with the audience by asking how each woman achieved her individual position of leadership in her respective organization and what career goals drove her to the position. Each woman described a wide range of previous jobs that they held that contained lessons that would foster improvement for leadership. Students asked questions about how recent college graduates can help in the grand fight for social justice, to which the panelists responded that the most important thing you can do is listen. Listen to the older members of non-profit organizations who have extensive experience in the field and listen to peers who have differing ideas of how to achieve social justice. The panelists reminded students that contacts are one of the most important things to remember when holding various jobs and seeking to enter a field. The informal nature of this event brought knowledge and laughter to the students who attended, as well as valuable wisdom for entering the professional world.

Written by Angelica Mishra ’19, WGRC student worker