The Nonprofit Leadership Association (NLA) has been a part of Maryville College for the last 15 years. NLA offers a group for students who are interested in working in the non-profit sector to receive access to training and internship opportunities.
By participating in the group, students can also receive non-profit leadership certification. Unique to only 150 schools in the nation, non-profit leadership certification is valuable for students looking to work in any aspect of business, for-profit and non-profit alike.
MC senior psychology major Emilie Perez is the current president of MC’s chapter of NLA. Because the group has been somewhat dormant for the last few years, Perez says that one of her current goals for the group is to collect more members and get more students non-profit certified.
“It’s great to have in your back pocket,” Emilie said of the certification. “Even if you don’t want to work in the non-profit sector, you will know how business management works as a whole.”
Perez went on to say that there are many professionals outside of the MC community who ask about obtaining the certification, but the college has to turn them away because only officially enrolled students are allowed to get the certification.
“It is a very rare certification to have,” Perez said.
To become non-profit certified, students have to meet certain competencies and complete a summer internship at a non-profit. The competencies include taking BUS201 and SLS203, participating in various workshops and trainings throughout the year, and attending the American Management Institute (AMI). Perez pointed out that many of these requirements, such as the internship, are already built into most student’s schedules.
“It’s a great stepping stone if you want to pursue business,” Perez added.
Aside from the certification, NLA also helps connect students all over campus to service and internship opportunities. This spring, Perez is planning a Non-profit Fair which will come before the Career Fair. Having a separate fair will allow students to get to know the non-profits more intimately and will attract students who are looking for entry level internships but are too intimidated to attend the Career Fair Perez pointed out.
On Apr. 23, NLA will host Kin Takahashi Weekend, an MC tradition Perez wants to revive. The event will run from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on that day, and individuals will sign up for two hour shifts. Perez said that she is working closely with Dr. Drew Crain and the Environmental Action Team to put together service projects that focus on the campus environment and the college woods.
For Perez, being the president of NLA has provided a number of learning opportunities. Her involvement with the club has taught her important leadership skills that she said she would not have learned otherwise.
“[NLA] taught me how to run an organization and to be proactive…” Perez said, “A boss is somebody who tells you what to do and you just have to do it. A leader is someone who will do it with you. My goal as a leader is to make sure I keep my word and to fulfill what I promise.”
NLA meets every other Tuesday in Bartlett 101 from 6-7 p.m. Students who are interested in gaining experience in event planning, fundraising, management, community service or non-profit leadership should contact Perez at [email protected].