Nora Beirne is Development Manager for USO of Metropolitan New York and also a participant with LEAP™ (Leadership & Executive Acceleration Program).
In an interview Nora explains that the USO of Metropolitan New York is a non-profit organization that provides support to service members and their families in the tri-state area. The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. Through military appreciation programming, family programming, four centers and one break room, we act as a steward of America’s gratitude to our service members.
What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
As a development manager, I work closely with corporate partners and other donors to secure funding for our programs, centers, and operations. As a non-profit organization, we rely on generous donations from companies and individuals to be able to fulfil our mission every day. My goal is to expand our reach and share our messaging on a bigger scale to expand the ways in which we show appreciation to our service members.
How do you keep your team/staff motivated?
For those of us that work in the non-profit space, I think it is important to keep mission first. No matter how trying times can be, at the end of the day we are all working towards a common cause and that can be incredibly inspiring. Sharing messages of gratitude and stories of our impact is a great way to show appreciation to staff and keep us motivated to continue in our work.
What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?
As many organizations struggle with the economic impact of COVID-19, I think the non-profit sector will need to get creative with programming and fundraising, two key pillars of running non-profits. The economic impacts of the pandemic in the long run will be difficult, but communication and creativity will be essential.
What new trends are emerging in your industry?
Even prior to COVID-19, virtual programming was becoming more prominent. Now, more than ever, it is crucial for non-profits to build community to host virtual events and programming. It has been really great to see how creative organizations are getting with a variety of this programming. I look forward to watching this trend grow and seeing what is successful.
How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?
To me, success is driven by finding a career that you are passionate about. When you go to work every day passionate about what you are doing, the desire to succeed and see your organization grow will be great. If you are passionate about what you do, it will be infectious in the workplace. I think it is so important to remain positive in your professional atmosphere and encourage your coworkers to come to you when they need a second opinion. Collaboration within a team is key to success.
Success comes in many different forms – some times it is in landing a new partner or launching a new program, but other times it can come in smaller forms – by receiving recognition for what you are doing and knowing you are making an impact.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?
Make yourself indispensable. When I was doing my first internship in college, my dad would tell me this every morning before I left. At first, it was a nice gesture alongside my morning coffee, but became a mantra over time. It is so crucial to give 100% all the time, not just when it suits you. When you make yourself indispensable, it not only helps you to succeed professionally, it creates a positive work atmosphere and makes you the kind of colleague that people want to come to. That resonates really well with senior leadership.
What have been your highlights in business over the past year?
Over the past year, we have seen our service instances increase exponentially. Through our programs and services, we are able to provide world class programming to service members and their families. Engaging some new partners as well as working with existing partners has really allowed us to expand what we can do. I look forward to seeing the growth over the next year.
What’s next for your company?
I think virtual events and programming will absolutely define the remainder of 2020. As large gatherings are not possible, the ability to creatively engage our constituents and deliver programming will be extremely rewarding.
Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?
This time next year, I hope that in-person events and activities are able to resume! Without knowing what the future holds, it is hard to say. I hope to expand our in-person events and programs but if we need to adjust, I would love to see consistent attendance for virtual events!