Allie Krumel, Copywriter at M&C, recently sat down with her colleague and friend Chanelle Zak, Director of Communications & Community Engagement at Bishop Sullivan Center, to reflect on their first year as young professionals. Let’s eavesdrop on their conversation.
Allie: So to start off, tell us a little about why you chose to begin your career in the nonprofit world.
Chanelle: When I was navigating the first few years of college, I was looking for a major that would help me serve my community well, and somehow get paid while doing that. And I wasn’t definite on the exact position I wanted to be in every day. I didn’t have a passion for writing like you do, but I knew it could help me help others. I realized I was very people-focused, and that helped me define what I wanted my education to help me do. So with that, throughout school I started to identify the causes I was most passionate about. Then, when I got my job at Bishop Sullivan Center, I learned my role as Director of Communications & Community Engagement so I could serve in urban settings and work with low-income families.
Allie: That’s interesting. I feel like I came into the working world from a different angle, even though we ended up in similar roles. I was asking, “What sorts of writing jobs are out there? How do I find them?” So working in the nonprofit world was a way to follow that passion. So, can you tell me what you enjoy most about working at Bishop Sullivan Center?
Chanelle: Absolutely – my interest in working at Bishop Sullivan Center is rooted in understanding poverty. I want to eventually be able to make big, high-level decisions that could really help communities move forward, structurally and policy-wise. But who was I to think I could make a difference in these communities when I don’t even know what a single mom with a few kids is facing day to day? Or what barriers are holding her back, and what kind of discrimination she faces. So for me, it was a great opportunity to learn about barriers, and learn about how nonprofits in our community work together to serve these individuals and families. And seeing that network that can provide food, help people get jobs and gain work skills, helping them get back to school…this showed me communications enables us to support fundraising for our organization, raise awareness, educate the Kansas City community, and advocate for our families.
Allie: How do stories and different communications initiatives help you to elevate the mission of Bishop Sullivan Center?
Chanelle: Yeah, it’s definitely multi-level. It helps us reach potential future donors…and I also hope the creative communities in Kansas City see themselves in the marginalized people we serve at Bishop Sullivan Center. So, I see it as being multi-faceted in that way.
Allie: That’s what I enjoy about my job. When I interview a veteran, and if I can share their perspective artfully, maybe it will inspire more people to donate or learn more about veterans’ issues. And when you take that broader picture, you see why good marketing is so important in helping nonprofits work toward their missions. I think that shows the broader impact these communications can have.
Chanelle: Drawing new eyes and new hearts.
Check back next week to read the second half of the conversation – on networking, cause marketing, and community engagement.