ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation's Annual Nonprofit Conference on Sustainability Strategies

ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation's Annual Nonprofit Conference on Sustainability Strategies

By Tenneille Choi, Board Member, YNPN Phoenix

When I heard the Lodestar Center was hosting an annual conference, I was so on board! The ASU Lodestar Center of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation is a powerhouse of social impact in Arizona and internationally. It advances leaders and philanthropists through research, education, outreach, and the Annual Nonprofit Conference on Sustainability Strategies.

YNPN Phoenix was invited to not only host a table in the exhibitor hall but to also be represented by YNPN Phoenix board member and communications committee chair Julie Euber on the lunchtime panel How We Took Charge of Our Future: An Inspiring Conversation with the Region's Top Leadership Programs.

For the first-time, the 26th year of the Conference featured an around-the-world fair of leading nonprofits like Be A Leader Foundation, Public Allies, Feeding Matters, and so many more (Check out the list here). Among attendees were participants from two of Lodestar’s key programs, Public Allies and the American Express Leadership Academy. Workshops included compelling topics such as data, fundraising, and strategic planning. The Conference also presented a dynamic duo of speakers during the welcome.

Dr. Robert Ashcraft, Executive Director of the Lodestar Center, kicked off with opening remarks about leadership. Trust is essential for any good leader, but even the best intentions can go awry (as Dr. Ashcraft beautifully illustrated with this video). While not everyone is a “born leader,” everyone can learn how to lead, and it’s a skill we develop over time. Most importantly, you can be a leader from any position, not just senior roles.

After warming up the audience with some inspiration, Dr. Ashcraft moderated a thoughtful conversation with Gloria Feldt, the co-founder and president of Take The Lead, an initiative to propel women to leadership positions across all sectors. It was surprising to learn that while women make up the majority of the nonprofit field, the wage gap is still the same as for-profit industries. When asked what should happen next after the #MeToo movement, Feldt recognized that #MeToo created an amazing opportunity for women to find their voices but stressed that men needed to be included in the conversation. “You can’t sue everybody.” Being adversarial won’t lead to progress, and it’s important to understand that men and women have been socialized to speak differently. Put frankly, “groups with less power have to be able to speak the language of groups with more power.” It takes communication and cooperation. Finally, Feldt encouraged the room to be fearless, to not be afraid of getting fired when you know you’re doing the right thing. That’s how you truly “take the lead.”


Participating with YNPN Phoenix means you are plugging into an already large and ever-growing network of young professionals in Metro Phoenix. Become a member today and join the movement.