Consider nonprofit board work

The Last Word

Keith Stanley
Keith Stanley Credit: Lila Aryan

Near West Side Partners/Near West Side BID #10

624 N. 24th St., Milwaukee

Industry: Economic development and nonprofit

Employees: Six

Credit: Lila Aryan Photography

Keith Stanley, 41, is the driving force behind the many efforts to revitalize the seven neighborhoods on the near west side of Milwaukee. Stanley says young professionals who want to make a difference in their community and advance their career should consider joining a nonprofit board.

“When it comes to young professionals, I am always bothered when I hear people say they are unable to get ahead in Milwaukee. They need to think outside of the box and join a not-for-profit board. It is a great way to connect with people, connect with the community and connect with the movers and shakers in town. It also gives people insight on how a nonprofit is run and how decisions are made.

“You have to first look at where your passions lie. If you want to help men who were released from the prison system get back into society, look and see if there are any nonprofits doing that type of work. If you want to work with Washington Park, Sherman Park or the Near West Side, see if there is a board that centers on that passion.

“Next, look at your ability. You might be a CPA working 9 to 5, or a social media guru. Once you figure out your passion and what you can bring to the table, then you can determine what makes sense for you. Have conversations with a few executive directors; work with the people, places or communities that can give you some insight. I can’t imagine one executive director who isn’t willing to talk with a person who is interested in giving back.

“We have younger professionals involved on every aspect of the Avenues West and Near West Side boards. If you really want to break through in your career, then expand your network, contribute to your community and join a nonprofit board.”

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