Member Spotlight: Rachel Deffenbaugh

YNPN St. Louis has a diverse membership supported by many disciplines of the nonprofit sector. Our members come from over 70 nonprofits in St. Louis and six universities. We would like to highlight one of our great members, Rachel Deffenbaugh, one of our 2016 Spring Mentees.

  1. What is your favorite place in St. Louis and why? Tower Grove Park is my favorite place in the city.  I can easily walk there from my home and there is always something to find there.  If I need to relax and decompress, I'll lay out on a blanket in the park with a good book.  When it comes time to catch up with friends, I like to meet them for a walk in the park.  And I can't get enough of the delicious food at the International Festival every August!
  2. How did you get involved in YNPN? A co-worker told me about YNPN. I was attracted to the numerous networking and professional development opportunities.  YNPN especially interested me because it focuses on non-profits, which come with their own unique rewards and challenges as a work place.  After joining the organization, I was particularly interested in pursuing the mentorship program.
  3. Why have you focused your career on the nonprofit sector? Even as a child, I focused my efforts towards creating a better community for everyone.  I taught myself how to cook, because I wanted to help my family feed itself.  I volunteer through Girl Scouts because I saw an opportunity to share my skills with others.  I want my career to focus on bettering my community and I think that the non-profit sector is one of the best avenues to achieving that goal.
  4. What advice would you give to young professionals considering a nonprofit job? Many people enter the non-profit sector because they have an idealistic vision of what the world should be.  While this vision is critical to doing good work, the idealism can often get in the way of realistically and incrementally achieving goals.  I advise young non-profit professionals to find a balance between idealism and practicality.  An equitable balance between the two will ensure that you can be proud of your accomplishments while wisely using resources and time.
  5. If you could pick the last meal you ate what would it be? A mis-matched smorgasbord: fresh spring rolls & peanut sauce, Tum Yum Kung soup, my mom's wine & beef stew and my grandmother's chocolate cake.  I'd wash it all down with a fresh-squeezed limeade. 
  6. What do you hope to accomplish that you haven't yet? I am currently working towards getting a Masters degree in Natural Resource and Environmental Science.  Presently, I'm still knocking out a few prerequisites and I plan to work full-time while I do course work.  So, I hope to have a Masters in 4 or 5 years.  
  7. What has been your favorite YNPN STL event? Why? I enjoy the Coffee with 9 Stranger events.  They are smaller scale, so you can make stronger connections with people.

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