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Thinking About a Career in Non-Profit?
Non-profit careers offer unique rewards and demands. This interview with BREATHE LA staffer Julia Robinson Shimizu is geared for students interested in careers in non-profit and was published in UCLA Career Center Network Newsletter. The interview was conducted by UCLA alumna Alison Schaefer, excerpted here.
THINKING ABOUT A CAREER IN NON-PROFIT?
Information Interview with JULIA ROBINSON SHIMIZU
UCLA major: Japanese
Breathe California of Los Angeles County
Director of Marketing and Communications.
Responsible for raising awareness for BREATHE LA, a non-profit organization dedicated to clean air and lung health in Los Angeles.
How did you get into this field? I started out in Public Relations (PR) and one thing led to another.
What kinds of people do you think would enjoy this type of work? Marketing for a non-profit organization requires a variety of skills. You must be relentless, resilient, optimistic, strong in computer programs such as word processing and spreadsheets, flexible, and able to jump in where needed.
How do you spend a typical day or week at work? I spend a lot of time communicating by e-mail. It is very important to return e-mails and calls promptly. I multi-task a lot.
What are your major responsibilities? Raising awareness and community outreach. For example, I just gave a presentation to high school students interested in community service.
What do you find most satisfying about your job? I have a lot of work-related satisfaction. My job is meaningful to me. I have a list of things that matter to me and environment is one of them. The organization's mission is aligned with my personal mission.
What are the challenging aspects of working in this field? It is challenging because we are competing with other non-profits and need to come up with original ideas. We are hoping our 2008 fund-raiser will attract people. We are having a sky-diving fundraiser on April 26. Other challenges are the high expectations and the hard work. However, it only feels like hard work if it's not for you.
How would you advise students to transition into this field? I would definitely say that the best route to the non-profit field is to volunteer for a cause you are interested in. First, volunteer for an event. Then, once you feel more comfortable with the organization, go to their office and ask to volunteer. There are a lot of different tasks you can do as a volunteer. We love to have volunteers write for our website, enter statistical data about the success of our programs, market our events, and do internet research. For example, if we were considering having a race with hybrid cars, we might ask a volunteer to research whether people have done it before and summarize articles about it.
Want to know more? Contact Julia (323) 935-8050 x233
Read the full article published in UCLA Career Center Network Newsletter.