YNPN St. Louis has a diverse membership supported by many disciplines of the nonprofit sector. Our members come from over 70 nonprofits in St. Louis and six universities. We would like to highlight one of our great members, Domonique Taylor, one of our Spring 2016 Mentees.
- What is your favorite place in St. Louis and why? Currently, my favorite place in St. Louis is the Central West End. Within the past few months I have taken a Salsa dance class at the Ballroom Dance Academy of St. Louis, an improv class at The Improv Shop and chess class at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. They were all located in the Central West End. The area offers a lot and is easily accessible via public transportation. I look forward to exploring other areas of St. Louis (especially areas that are off the beaten path).
- How did you get involved in YNPN? Currently, I am an AmeriCorps VISTA (a full-time volunteer at a nonprofit in St. Louis aimed toward alleviating poverty). I've heard great things about YNPN from many different people who are familiar with YNPN, including my regional AmeriCorps VISTA director, Katie. I attended an AmeriCorps group outting to YNPN's annual Blog Out Loud event. I loved the speakers and the TEDTalk vibe, and have been coming back ever since then.
- Why have you focused your career on the nonprofit sector? I kind of fell into the nonprofit sector. During my senior year in college I didn't have a clear idea of the professional path that I wanted to take. I looked into Teach for America, but ultimately decided to pursue an AmeriCorps position. As a first generation college student, I was drawn to the mission of inspireSTL, the organization that I currently serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Ultimately, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, and in this respect I admire a quote by Michelle Obama: "I always tell people, the question of what you want to be when you grow up is one that you will eternally be answering." I do know that I want to incorporate giving back to the community that molded me into the person that I am today into any career I pursue. At this point, pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector seems like the best next step for me.
- What advice would you give to young professionals considering a nonprofit job? My advice to young professionals considering a nonprofit job is to "find your why" (I borrowed this from the organization I currently volunteer with). "Find your why" means to discover the deeper and personal reason for why you are attracted to the mission of the organization. There will be many days when your work is hard, and you feel frustration. In these situations a combination of self-care and reminding yourself of your "why" will help you through.
- If you could pick the last meal you ate what would it be? My last meal would be Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper. It is a running joke that for the most part is true. I love how easy it is to make (especially since I spend long days in the office and commuting back and forth). I would have broccoli as a side, and for dessert I would have Ben and Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream (so good).
- What do you hope to accomplish that you haven't yet? In addition to bucket list items like going skiing, and travel to Hawaii, I hope to break out on my own. I recently graduated, and I am still dependent on my family. I live at home with them and overall I haven't yet found my own two feet. I hope to stand independently on my own feet and model what my co-worker once told me about wanting to give back to her mom; a woman who sacrificed so much for my co-worker to be in the position she is in today.
- What has been your favorite YNPN STL event? Why? Hands down, my favorite YNPN STL event has been the first event I attended, 2015 Blog Out Loud. The speakers were engaging, the messages were powerful, and the setting was intimate. The two speakers that stand out are Crystal and her theme of commitment to St. Louis and Royce Martin, a black high school teen and his experience with racial profiling. I can't wait for Blog Out Loud 2016.