Member Spotlight with Je’Nai Talley

Je'Nai Headshot
Je’Nail Talley

Tell us about your role.

Chicago Scholars is a college access and success program that guides and mentors academically ambitious students who are either the first in their family to go to college, or are from socioeconomically under-resourced communities.We work with our Scholars from senior year of high school until they graduate from college and begin their careers, helping them develop into the leaders of Chicago. As the Manager of College Partnerships, I build and nurture relationships with colleges and universities all across the nation with the goal of increasing access for our Scholars. These relationships produce valuable opportunities for our Scholars and help connect them to the campus resources that ensure they persist and graduate.

How long have you been involved with YNPN Chicago?

This month marks one year living in Chicago and working with Chicago Scholars, and 6 months being involved in YNPN Chicago.

Why do you like working in the nonprofit sector?

For the majority of people, so much of life is spent at work. I want to spend those hours being intentional, purposeful and joyful. Building a career in the nonprofit sector helps me achieve those ends. Specifically, I love mentorship and working with high school and college students. I believe attaining education is a huge key to alleviating many societal issues, and there is such a dynamic college access and success community supporting young people in Chicago.

What is your favorite place in Chicago?

This is a tough question! In my relatively short time in Chicago, I’ve fallen in love with many parts of the city. The DuSable Museum of African American History was probably my first favorite place. The exhibits really give visitors an opportunity to learn and engage about important topics. But. If I’m being true to my inner foodie, my favorite place is Molly’s Cupcakes!

What is the best piece of advice youve ever received?

One of my mentors is my former high school counselor, Ms. Dorris Walls. She told me to never settle for mediocracy and to always challenge myself. She belives when you do not challenge yourself, you not only do yourself a disservice, but also the people you can potentiailly help with your newfound growth.

Member Spotlight is a recurring series that recognizes YNPN Chicagos dedicated and accomplished membership. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured, please email using the subject line Member Spotlight.