Marsha Brogden: Presentations of Impact 2020

Marsha Brogden: Presentations of Impact 2020

I would first like to thank Lou Haiduk and my supervisor, Christina Rossetti, for taking a chance on me and letting me be a part of this amazing cohort.

This road has not been an easy one. Coming from a small town across the US, with everything I could fit in my car was a big test of bravery for me. I told myself if I could at least get here, I could do anything. With no family, very minimal friends, and no job lined up, I didn’t know what was in store for me. I was very hard on myself to get things done in a short amount of time like getting a job and setting up an apartment. It didn’t take long before I had my own little pad with friends and a decent job. I couldn’t have asked for more. However, little did I know there were bigger plans in store for me. Two jobs and a couple of apartment moves later, I didn’t know what my next move was. I just got fired from a job, my roommate was deployed. For a minute, I didn’t know if I was going to have a place to live by the end of it all.

I knew I wanted to do something of value. I was tired of being taken advantage of and for granted at my previous positions. I was tired of not doing anything of use to my future goals. I wanted to do something that was impactful for others as well as myself. I was interested in everyone getting fair treatment regardless of background or gender. I came across the Public Allies program on Indeed. I read the description and thought, “perfect!” It can help me in whatever career path I choose to go in, and I’ll get to learn about the community. Win win.

After going through a round of interviews, matching fairs, and two weeks of uncertainty, I was in! I couldn’t contain my excitement. On top of that, I got my first-choice placement, DEI Outreach Specialist at the David and Lura Lovell Foundation. It was like this was made for me. My role was to research and interview the foundation's grantees and see what steps they were taking on the diversity, equity, and inclusion journey with their organizations. After, fashion a capacity-building grant to help those organizations bring in what they needed to get closer to their DEI goals. My first day was great; I got my own office, went out to lunch with my supervisor, and had my first grown up meetings. Little did I know there were many meetings to come, and they wouldn’t be as glamorous as the first. Everything was going well, my placement was being very supportive which I was not used to. As well as I was treated like a valued member of the team which - again - I wasn’t used to. I am very grateful for my supervisors bearing with me during trying times.

The trying times were only going to get rougher, after a health scare, COVID came and threw everyone for a loop. I adjusted pretty nicely, however, parts of the project were slowed down due to everything being on zoom. Everything in the program got switched to Zoom and Google Hangout meetings, from CSDs and Team Service Projects to grantee interviews and meetings with the board/committee. I would like to say everyone adjusted very well as our TSP turned out great and the grant proposal is up and running. It was hard to get everyone scheduled to be somewhere at once as everyone wears many hats in the nonprofit world, but we managed to get a funding group together for partnering organizations grantees to brainstorm ideas to further help nonprofits reach their DEI/IDEA goals of a more diverse staff and board, better employee/volunteer engagement, and everyone regardless of background and gender having a fair chance at advancing.

Public Allies and my placement have given me the confidence to handle seemingly hard tasks and interact with people. I cannot thank them enough for seeing something in me to bring me on and teaching me valuable skills that I can take with me wherever I choose to go next.