Nonprofit HR Staff Story: Fellows You Haven’t Heard From

By Lindsey Otto, Marketing & Communication Associate, Editorial & Content

Nonprofit HR provides seasonal opportunities for fellows and interns to learn about the firm, our work and the social sector as a whole. We encourage those who join our team to gain all they can from these experiences, acquiring knowledge from those they work with in order to grow as people and professionals.

We previously featured fellows in our special edition staff story spotlighting Generation Z and since then, we’ve had three new fellows contributing to the important work we do to support our client’s missions. We’d like to introduce Chidera Dimkpa, Marketing & Communication Fellow; Kelly Ouyang, Marketing & Communication Fellow; and Paola Vazquez, Business Development Intern.

What are you studying? And how does it relate to your focus at Nonprofit HR?

Dimkpa: At Howard University, I’m studying Business Marketing. Similar to my Marketing and Communication Intern role at Nonprofit HR, I work on developing marketing strategies and focus on creation-based learning in my major.

Ouyang: I am double majoring in public health sciences and psychological sciences at the University of California, Irvine. While taking courses for my psychological sciences major, I took a course focused on industrial organizational psychology and I found it to be one of the most interesting courses I have taken during my time at UCI. In my marketing role in Nonprofit HR, I was able to learn about the field, company and more about marketing. I find graphics and social media to be very interesting. I love Nonprofit HR’s mission of providing nonprofits with the access to human resources. I was able to learn more about this field while working on projects that were hands-on and exciting.

Vazquez: I am studying Management Information Systems (MIS) at the University of Texas at Austin. Through my college experience, I have also had the opportunity to explore the entrepreneurial space both on campus and in the greater Austin area. This has led to my current role at Nonprofit HR where I get to research, write about and contact nationwide social enterprises who are changing the business landscape and simultaneously creating social impact.

What does your day-to-day look like with this role?

Dimkpa: At the start of my shift, I go through my email to check for any new or follow-up emails. I then dive into working on my assigned projects, reaching out to my team members via Zoom chat or email along the way. I typically end my shifts by writing down a recap of the work I did during that shift, for record purposes.

Ouyang: As a Marketing and Communication fellow, my day-to-day would usually be starting off writing down things I need to do. I would sign on and complete the tasks that were assigned. After working on graphics or checking in with my supervisor, I would get ready for classes.

Vazquez: My day-to-day includes reaching out to social enterprises, researching the social entrepreneurship landscape and writing about it!

Read Paola’s recent article entitled A Global Mission: How Social Enterprises Are Affected by Their Communities.

What attracted you to this opportunity?

Dimkpa: I sought to gain work experience related to my major and get a glimpse of what it’s like to work with a team and with a company! NonprofitHR was a great company to gain this experience at, as I was surrounded by a kind and helpful team that did their best to teach and guide me through the process.

Ouyang: I was attracted to this opportunity because I wanted to learn about the field and get more hands-on experience in marketing and communications. I wanted to make a difference as I am passionate about using the skills I have and potential new skills to make a difference. The organizations Nonprofit HR work with have amazing causes. Also, I wanted to be a part of how Nonprofit HR makes a positive impact within the company and with other partners.

Vazquez: What attracted me to this internship was the social enterprise aspect of it. I knew I wanted to explore that industry, and this internship allowed me just that!

What is something that you learned through this experience that you were not expecting? It can be an aha moment related to HR, talent management, leadership, etc.

Dimkpa: I learned about certain aspects of work culture that I could’ve only gained from directly working for a company, such as work abbreviations/verbiage. In specific to this company, I also learned about terms related to the nonprofit sector!

Ouyang: Something I learned in this experience was the amount of work that goes into the development of a campaign or list. I worked on an upcoming award list campaign that consisted of graphics, social copy, potential nominations and the criteria for the list. I enjoyed learning about the industry-specific knowledge while gaining knowledge of the company’s culture and values. 

Vazquez: I got to interview some amazing leaders in the industry that I would not have the opportunity otherwise. It gave me insights on the initiatives taking place across the country and the thought process/purpose for them. It was very inspiring!

What have you learned about yourself through this experience?

Dimkpa: I learned that I like to apply priority levels to the work I have to accomplish, which helps me to get things done timely. I also learned that I love to stay organized and keep a track record of everything I’ve done, which helps on the back end when I want to look back on the work I’ve accomplished.

Ouyang: Through this experience, I was able to undergo personal growth and self-discovery where I learned more about my strengths and weaknesses. I gained more experience in graphic design, and discovered that I really enjoyed creating iterations of art. I loved getting feedback from the team and making the art even better. Overall, I was able to grow while learning hard and soft skills. This internship went beyond the specific tasks and responsibilities, and it was a very valuable experience.

Vazquez: I have learned to trust myself and take pride in my work. I was initially very nervous about writing a blog, but I trusted the process and simply tried to learn as much as possible throughout it. I asked for feedback and implemented it into a final version I was really proud of.

Describe any projects relating to community service, social good, contributing to a greater cause, etc. that you have been a part of or actively engage in.

Dimkpa: I volunteer with Junior Achievement at their finance parks in the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. For about four to five hours a day, I was able to work with groups of about 10 middle school students and teach them about financial literacy, guiding them through a simulation that explains processes such as budgeting, saving and spending.

Ouyang: At UCI, I am a part of a club called We (Skin)care, a community for skincare enthusiasts where students are able to learn more about self-care as well. As the fundraising leader of the club, I am able to raise funds with the community to donate to skin cancer research and create hygiene kits for the unhoused. Our club also takes part in initiatives such as beach clean-ups and recycling skincare packaging.

Vazquez: During COVID, in the summer of 2020, some of my peers and I started an online tutoring service free of charge for elementary kids. Our mission was to provide engaging content to PK-5 students who were missing out on in-person learning due to the pandemic. It was a small but very rewarding project.

What are going to be your priorities following school (entering the workforce, etc.)?

Dimkpa: After school, I hope to work at a company where I am able to expand my skills and knowledge while trying new things. Some of my interests include marketing, technology and finance, and I hope to be able to funnel these passions into my career post-graduation.

Ouyang: My priorities following school would be to continue to develop my skills, build my network, seek potential opportunities and go above and beyond in my position. I would like to keep learning what is necessary to excel in the field I work in through technology and experience, and potentially further my education with certificates, higher education and additional training. Additionally, I would like to improve my networking skills for guidance and support while I navigate the workforce.

Vazquez: My priorities in the next five years is to learn as much as possible. As a recent grad, I am excited to apply everything I have learned in the classroom to the real world and never stop learning!

Who do you admire the most/who do you look up to?

Dimkpa: I truly admire my hard-working mom and dad, who have an exceptional work ethic and very high level of perseverance. On top of excelling in their professional passions, they are also kind-hearted and wise people who have always encouraged me to pursue my passions, remain humble and be disciplined. They inspire me to continue to learn more about myself, my history and my world.

Ouyang: The person I look up to the most would be my mother. She has been there for me while providing guidance, encouragement and just an ear to listen to my concerns. She is also resilient and has overcome many challenges in life, one being immigrating here without much to her name. She is inspiring and my role model.

Vazquez: Patty Hampton was the greatest mentor I could have asked for. She gave me the freedom to explore my interests and write about them. This process made me learn a lot about myself and the industry I was researching!

What advice would you give to the next cohort of fellows or interns?

Dimkpa: Stay organized! It’s one of the best helpers in not getting overwhelmed. Find your system for keeping track of what you’ve done and what you need to do. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions and try something new! And lastly, connect with those around you! Most people you come in contact with can be a great help in teaching you or guiding you!

Ouyang: Ask questions and learn from the team. It is always good to be inquisitive and to learn more than what is asked for. That being said, being proactive is a great way if you want to learn more. Do as many coffee chats as you can. Good luck!! 

Vazquez: My advice for future interns is to communicate your interests to your mentor. You will be surprised with the opportunities available and what you can learn from them!

Come work with us!

Lindsey OttoLindsey Otto Lindsey is a passionate writer, editor and marketer with a dedication to generating engaging and impactful content. As a former Nonprofit HR marketing consultant, she also interned with the firm and focused on digital and traditional marketing campaigns. Read full bio.