Joshua Raymundo: A (Much Needed) Breath of Fresh Air
There’s a lot to be said about Silicon Valley, which is home to thousands of tech companies and start-ups, but there’s definitely more than meets the eye in the nonprofit sector. Working at the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits (SVCN) has given me the unique opportunity to take a closer look at how a nonprofit organization functions - which is especially important given the pandemic. Given that we are nearly a year into COVID-19, SVCN has adjusted well to the online format - hosting events, team lunches, and meetings all on zoom.
The ability to adapt and learn on the fly is the hallmark of a successful business in any context. The onus is especially on nonprofits to shift gears quickly when a new problem arises. Given that nonprofits serve the interests of specific issues, their importance has become amplified in the pandemic. SVCN provides a plethora of resources for the nonprofit community to access, including newsletters, job boards, community calendars, and so much more. As the Learning and Member Engagement Intern, I’ve been tasked with maintaining and updating these resources, along with the website. I’ve come to learn quickly that these resources are critical for nonprofits to access, because they quickly need to fill up roles with volunteers and staffers to help with vaccine distribution, food pantry programs, and more.
As well as the business school can teach these skills, implementing them in the real world is a much different experience. For as many accounting problems I could fill out, or spreadsheets I could create, the on-the-job pressure of ensuring the work I’ve done is right has been imperative for my growth. I’ve been able to take the basic knowledge I’ve learned in LSB, and apply it to the projects I’m working on for SVCN. Moreover, I feel that I’ve gained a deeper understanding of what I’ve learned during my time at SCU. Oftentimes in the classroom, I tended to go through the motions of what I was doing, or what spreadsheet I was working on. Being at SVCN has provided context behind the skills I’ve learned and practiced. In turn, I feel incredibly grateful to be able to have this new perspective.
Not only has SVCN sharpened my technical skills, but because it has provided me with the opportunity to see how leaders in the public and nonprofit sector collaborate for the betterment of the public. I’ve been able to sit in on multiple meetings with local nonprofit leaders, and I’ve been inspired to see how they’re handling vaccine distribution, race equity work, with such grace and confidence. I think it’s important for more business students to see how working in the public and/or nonprofit sector can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It’s not one that is traditional - especially with the inherent demeanor of Silicon Valley - but is one that deserves more recognition.