Nancy Zola, an NYC-based professional with diverse experience in sales and operations, is an alumna of our Re-Inspiration Program.

Nancy Zola, an NYC-based professional with diverse experience in sales and operations, is an alumna of our Re-Inspiration Program.

With diverse career experience across sector and industry, Nancy wanted to be sure that her transition from corporate to social purpose work was a deliberate and well-aligned next step. To do this, she needed support in learning about the array of options in this new sector, and determining the type of organization and role that would be the best fit. Finally, she needed more information to figure out how to package and communicate how the contributions she made in the corporate sector could benefit a purpose-driven organization.

There are business roles under the nonprofit umbrella, making skills highly transferrable. I now have a job just like that.

Nancy, now happily settled in a new role at a fabulous nonprofit, shared some of her reflections on this major career transition.

How did IC’s Re-Inspiration program help you overcome the obstacles you were facing to finding fulfilling, flexible work?

The program opened up a world of choices by exposing me to the range of organizational options way deeper than the “nonprofit” bucket that was I was thinking of. Learning about these other organizational models -- including B corporations, foundations, for profits with practices that aren’t profit-motivated, nonprofits with an earned revenue element -- enabled me to assess where I’d most like work.  In addition, the IC program served as the platform for me to build a valuable network which includes the like-minded cohort of incredibly talented women, as well as the inspiring speakers who I got to know first-hand. After completing the Re-Inspiration program; my affiliation to IC remained a constant, and I still feel like part of IC’s extended family.

You successfully made a transition into a full-time role at a purpose-driven organization. Tell us more about the role, and why it’s the right fit for you!

I now work full-time for Per Scholas, a national nonprofit that drives positive social change by opening doors to tech careers. Our students are talented and motivated adults and young adults from overlooked communities who are unemployed or in low wage jobs, and who are passionate about a career in technology. We prepare our students for successful careers as IT professionals through rigorous and tuition-free employer-led training, professional development, and then creating the on-ramps to businesses in need of their talents.  I have a job that where I apply skills learned from prior corporate business and operational roles in order to increase Per Scholas’ revenue.

What advice would you share for people who are similarly considering transitioning into a social impact career?

There are business roles under the nonprofit umbrella, making skills highly transferrable. I have a job just like that. Be open and willing to try new things, and network and engage in places outside your comfort zone. Do research to identify organizations whose missions are meaningful to you, whose culture and operational practices resonate, and then be persevering and creative in figuring out how to connect with them. Be brave. Also, form your own support group of loyal fans who are on the same wavelength, and going through the same transformation process as you. 


Our next Re-Inspiration cohort launches this fall in NYC. Get more information by filling out our interest form -- cohorts fill quickly!