Member Spotlight: Lisa Cohn

YNPN St. Louis has a diverse membership supported by many disciplines of the nonprofit sector. Believe it or not, our members come from more than 70 nonprofits throughout the St. Louis region! 

This week we're featuring Lisa Cohn, an AmeriCorps VISTA with ServiceWorks at the United Way of Greater St. Louis and a member of the newest class of participants in our year-long mentorship program.

1. Your favorite place in St. Louis and why? My favorite spot is Tower Grove Park because it’s a great place to walk and it has an incredible farmer's market.

2. How did you get involved in YNPN St. Louis?  I got involved in YNPN St. Louis after hearing about it through an AmeriCorps VISTA email. I had been looking for a way to connect to other nonprofit professionals, so it was the perfect opportunity!

3. Why have you focused your career on the nonprofit sector? When I was in undergrad, I began volunteering at the St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center and became passionate about criminal justice reform and prison reentry. There are a lot of nonprofits doing great work in these areas, so the nonprofit sector seemed like an obvious choice for a career devoted to these issues.

4. What advice would you give to young professionals considering a nonprofit job? I would encourage them to be flexible, because in the nonprofit sector it often feels like you have to wear a thousand different hats at once. You are constantly learning and growing, which is beneficial long term, but can also be exhausting and disorienting if you like consistency.

5. If you could host a talk show, who would be your first guest and why? My first guest would be Bryan Stevenson, author of “Just Mercy” and director of the Equal Justice Initiative. He and his organization defend prisoners on death row while also advocating against the death penalty on a larger scale. I would have him on my talk show because he has a gift for explaining the humanity of the prisoners he works with and the inhumanity of the death penalty. I cried multiple times as I read his book, demonstrating his ability to explain his work in a way that engages people on an emotional level.

6. What do you hope to accomplish that you haven't yet? I hope to be part of making significant progress on women’s reentry in St. Louis. Ideally I would do this through starting a nonprofit that addresses women’s educational, professional, social, and emotional needs after their time in prison.

7. What has been your favorite YNPN St. Louis event and why? I really enjoyed the fall mentorship happy hour! I met a lot of great people and had some really interesting conversations. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy pizza?

Thanks for sharing, Lisa!

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