I wouldn’t be here writing this today if it weren’t for one man with an idea, the dogged determination to see it through, and the knowledge that he was made for more.
Growing up poor in a poor country, my dad had no reason to believe his future could be any different. None of his family, his extended family, or even his extended family’s family had ever left the country, let alone the state.
But, he had this idea that if he could come to the US and land a job in Silicon Valley, he could change the fate of his family.
With a negative net worth, a new wife, and a daughter on the way, moving across the world to chase the possibility of a new future seemed crazy. But he saw beyond the house with no running water and the stray animals in the street. He knew he was more than just a poor guy in a poor country.
Despite the odds, he was accepted into a graduate program in Louisiana. He studied and taught during the day, then worked the night shift at a motel so he could feed my mom, sister, and (eventually) me. Those first few years were grueling, but he persisted.
Just as he was finishing school and his vision seemed within his grasp, the economy took a downturn. The possibility of getting a job anywhere looked bleak, but he persisted.
He was slapped with rejection after rejection. Yet, somehow, he still persisted.
Finally, as my parents were mentally preparing to make the move back to India with two little girls in tow, he got the call he had desperately been waiting for. He would become an engineer in Silicon Valley.
The story of how my parents came to the US, struggled, and beat the odds, is an extricable part of my own story. I learned early on that, even when it seems impossible, with an idea, determination, and the belief that we were made for more, we can create real change.
It’s through this lens that I view the world. So, when I meet an executive director, I don’t just see someone who runs a nonprofit. I see a visionary putting in the tireless effort it takes to create a better future for their community. When I meet a fundraising officer, I don’t just see someone who raises money for a nonprofit. I see a fighter with the persistence to keep trying in the face of rejection.
We- the nonprofit workforce- are passionate people with the ideas that will change the world for the better. And we have an unwavering dedication to our visions of a better future.
But if we are to beat the odds- if we are to create real change- first we need to change how we see ourselves.
When we have faith in our abilities, we can change the fate of our communities. When we believe in ourselves, we can break free from the inner dialogue that keeps us stuck playing a small game. When we know we’re made for more, we invest in our personal and professional growth.
I believe the nonprofit workforce is full of intelligent, committed people playing an active role in creating a better tomorrow. We are professionals, but we are far more than our job titles. Every one of us is a dreamer, a change maker, a movement starter, a status quo shaker.
My passion- and the mission of my company- is helping you find this within yourself.