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Event Recap: The Top 40 Under 40 Nonprofit Spotlight with YNPN RVA & Style Weekly

On Wednesday, November 12th 2014 ConnectVA’s Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN RVA) hosted a fantastic event – the Top 40 Under 40 Nonprofit Spotlight, that celebrated the nonprofit leaders and professionals selected for Style Weekly’s Annual Top 40 Under 40 List and recognized these extraordinary young people who are changing the community through their work in the nonprofit sector. 

pictures courtesy of Kim Lee Photography

The evening’s presentation focused on professional development, career growth, overcoming challenges, and community engagement in the nonprofit sector.  Nearly 150 nonprofit professionals, business leaders, and civic-minded individuals enjoyed an evening of inspiration, great food, drinks and the beautiful and historic atmosphere of the Hippodrome Theater.

pictures courtesy of Kim Lee Photography

Dr. Stephanie Micas, with the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies, opened up the evening talking about the profound impact of the nonprofit sector and announced their exciting new Graduate Nonprofit Studies program which combines theories of nonprofits with practical, real-world applications!

pictures courtesy of Kim Lee Photography

Our Featured speaker, Damon Jiggetts, Executive Director of the Peter Paul Development Center and 2011 Top 40 Under 40 Recipient, inspired everyone in the room with his personal journey which can be summed up in 3 words – passion, purpose, profession.  He challenged all of the nonprofit leaders in the room by saying, “If you are doing the same thing year after year, you are doing something wrong.”  The way he has been successful in his own career and in leading his organization is to, “Always innovate.  If we’re comfortable, something’s wrong.  There’s always something we can do to be of greater value.  Create, evaluate, and innovate!”

pictures courtesy of Kim Lee Photography

Jason Roop, Editor and Chief of Style Weekly, kept the inspiring conversation going with the selected Panelists from this years’ Top 40 Under 40 in the Nonprofit Sector.  The panelists gave advice on how they’ve overcome challenges, how to find skilled and devoted board members, how you should start saying, “No” a little more often to keep a work- life balance, challenges they have faced starting a nonprofit or leading an established nonprofit in the Richmond community, and how to always stay true to your mission, because it’s so easy to get sidetracked with grants and projects that don’t ultimately align with what you are trying to accomplish.

You can read more about the panelists here.

pictures courtesy of Kim Lee Photography

After the program officially concluded, the celebration continued with networking, raffle prizes, a silent auction, and a very cool interactive “Tree Project” with teens from Art 180, where they invited attendees to cut out and paint leaves to be placed on a tree, with written messages of action items and ideas that we can do to improve our community.

pictures courtesy of Kim Lee Photography

ConnectVA wants to thank our Signature Sponsor – The University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies, our Venue Sponsor – The Hippodrome and our Reception Sponsor – SunTrust Bank for making this evening possible.  We would also like to thank the many organizations and individuals who donated raffle prizes and auction items, our fantastic photographer Kim Lee Schmidt of Kim Lee Photography, as well as our fantastic ConnectVA community for showing an outpouring of support and love for our young nonprofit professionals! Thank you, thank you!

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