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ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Learning to Lead, Part 1: Why I Returned to Public Allies for a Second Year

“When the cause is not about you and your personal greed, but the greater picture of mutual need.”

My name is Rachelle Wayne. I received my bachelor’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management at Arizona State University in 2018 and earned the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance student organization at ASU.

For my required Nonprofit Leadership Alliance internship, I chose to serve for a second year as an AmeriCorps volunteer in the Public Allies Arizona program at the ASU Lodestar Center, returning to Public Allies five years after I had served with Native American Connections.

The three programs – an academic degree, the CNP credential and Public Allies – together align perfectly with my personal mission statement: I work to create a world that provides everyone with the opportunity to create a quality life for themselves and future generations alike.

Under the Public Allies program, I was placed at Mentally Ill Kids in Distress (MIKID) with the objective to help build capacity within the organization. Working in the nonprofit sector for almost a decade, I have gained an interest in what it looks like to lead within the field and how leaders can better collaborate to provide accessible opportunities for all to learn, grow and thrive in ways that are culturally appropriate to their wants and needs.

I recognized there is so much to learn and understand about leadership in the nonprofit sector, so I decided I would join the leadership programs available at ASU. When planning for my internship, I started searching almost two years in advance because I knew I wanted to complete my internship as a second-year Ally. Second-years need to develop their own positions with Partner Organizations and then present them to Public Allies, as opposed to a first-year Ally who would generally interview for a position that was already developed between Public Allies and the Partner Organization. This is how I went about achieving this goal:

  1. I identified leaders in the community whom I respected, looked up to and were interested in my personal and professional growth and development. I also looked for someone who worked at nonprofit organizations with missions that aligned with my own.
  2. I sent emails explaining what I was trying to do, why I wanted to do it and if they saw this as a mutual opportunity for growth in their organizations.
  3. I scheduled meetings with all who replied to go over details.
  4. I nurtured the relationship. MIKID showed great promise as an internship/Ally host, so I went out of my way to find opportunities to help and volunteer in the meantime, while maintaining and nurturing my relationships with other organizations.
  5. MIKID worked with me to develop a position that: Met the needs of MIKID by working toward their mission, would develop me personally and professionally in areas I was interested in growing and met the requirements of Public Allies and my internship. 
  6. Once I had everything approved by the organization, I applied for Public Allies and crossed my fingers. Having all these incredible opportunities is a tremendous honor and fantastic opportunity, which is a privilege I am extremely grateful for.

Working with Public Allies Arizona, MIKID, ASU’s Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Student Association and ASU’s Nonprofit Leadership and Management degree program has been an amazing and humbling experience.

I have had the honor and privilege of learning from and experiencing so many passionately dedicated people that I cannot help but feel inspired with hope. Throughout the time I have spent in these programs under the ASU Lodestar Center, I have had many struggles and challenges that I have had to overcome and I could not be more grateful for all the incredible amounts of support and guidance I have received.

I honestly could not have done a fraction of what I have accomplished without this fantastic network of caring professionals that I gained because of my participation. From staff leadership to my colleagues and classmates, I thank you all with my entire heart for all you have taught me.

In my next post, I’ll discuss how juggling three programs taught me to work smarter, not harder.

Rachelle Wayne is a 2018 Alumna, ASU BS in Nonprofit Leadership & Management. Wayne was also a part of Public Allies' Class 12. She was placed as a Youth Peer Support Provider at Mentally Ill Kids in Distress  (MIKID.) Public Allies Arizona is a 10-month apprenticeship program designed to develop the next generation of civic leaders.


ASU Lodestar Center Blog