I clearly remember feeling overwhelmed with all my new tasks. It also seemed to me like TechTown wanted me to shift away from evaluating their flagship entrepreneurship programs and focus more on improving alumni engagement. So very early on I had to pivot the focus of my project and juggle multiple different tasks at the same time. This seems to be a common occurrence with nonprofit consulting projects because I know I wasn’t the only one in the DukeEngage cohort having this struggle. After talking to other project teams, I found that their projects had also changed somewhat in scale or focus. I think this is to be expected in the nonprofit world because the work and projects community organizations undertake must change to match the changes in the needs and priorities of their community.
I was also pleasantly surprised with how informal TechTown’s work culture is. On the first day when I went into the office, I also had the chance to sit in on TT’s monthly staff meeting. The meeting’s atmosphere was very relaxed, people talked freely and joked with each other, and I could really see TT’s strong sense of community. Unlike private sector jobs that follow a more rigid and formal work culture, I learned that working in the nonprofit world is really about teamwork and strong interpersonal relationships. Even after just a few weeks of working with TechTown, I feel like I am truly a part of the TechTown family, and for that, I feel extremely blessed.