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Each month, we shine a spotlight on one of our chapter members with a series of questions. We hope you enjoy learning more about our spotlight nominee this month.

APRIL 2021

Y'Anad Burrell
Interim Chief Executive Officer, Youth UpRising

How long have you been involved in the nonprofit sector?
15 yrs.

Tell us about your current position. What are your responsibilities?
I am the Interim Chief Executive Officer of Youth UpRising, a youth empowerment center and hub in Oakland, CA.  I oversee a staff of 20+ and responsible for every aspect of the organization’s growth and development including strategic planning, fund development, program innovation, financial stability and growth, expansion, partnership and stakeholder engagement and many other responsibilities.

What has your career progression been like so far?
I did not start in the non-profit sector as a full-time career, but it was always a part of my fabric growing up.  I was drawn to volunteering and helping people, and did not look to be paid for it.  Fifteen years ago when I started Glass House Communications, a public relations and fund development firm, part of my offerings were writing grants for non-profit organizations.  That later grew into performing fund development and development director roles for organizations and now to my current role as Interim CEO.  Every step of way, equity, diversity and inclusion was a constant thread in all my work and in my current role that work is more important than ever.

What are you most proud of in your career to this point?
I am most proud of the current moment.  In the non-profit sector most of my positions were in development and grant writing.  It was never on my radar to be a CEO of an organization.  I am very proud of this moment which comes with a unique and amazing opportunity to affect change for underserved youth on a local, regional and national level.

What advice would you give to other AFP members who are considering becoming a committee member?
I will never forget the moment I realized that my fellow committee member was ‘silently sponsoring’ me.  Soon after joining the Diversity Committee, over 8 years ago, I noticed email after email from him with leads on opportunities, recommendations of me to colleagues and friends and just opening doors to many opportunities.  He never approached me, formally, to talk about all the support he was sharing my way, but the relationships continued to grow over the years and we became the best of friends which started on the AFP-GGC Board.  So the advice I would give to AFP members who are considering joining a committee, absolutely take the next step.  While your experience will be different from mine, I am almost certain it will be fulfilling, rewarding and most your work will be impactful.

Any secrets or just tried-and-true pieces of wisdom you want to share about what has worked for you?
Here is my internal secret, which is no longer a secret since I’m sharing it here (Lol).  A daily voice I my head says,  Y’Anad remember it’s not that serious!”  If you can live with this in mind, after you’ve finished a full day of work, enjoy the moments when the day is over and leave all the shenanigans of work at work.  Don’t’ take them home with you.  You will add years to your life by doing this.  And go! (my motto)

What is the biggest challenge facing the profession right now?
I would really like to see more diversity in the profession and this industry just as attractive to millennials as the tech industry has been.  The philanthropic sector is the north star that many don’t see, and we need to do a better job of promoting the opportunities that can happen from a career perspective.

How do you manage to balance your personal and professional life?
I will say since becoming Interim CEO it has been an interesting balance.  I manage it by regularly having small conversations in my head, reminding myself that I need to balance and reaching out to family to just check-in on a regular basis.

What do you like to do to relax?
Read fashion magazines and watch TV on mute.

Last book you read (or show you’re watching or binge-watching)?
Book: CASTE by Isabel Wilkerson.

What do you want to do in life that you haven’t yet?
I love this question and it made me smile when reading it. I would to travel for a month to Paris and also jet ski for once in my life.