Member Spotlight with Dan Edlebeck

Dan Edlebeck

Dan Edlebeck, Corporate Account Manager at The Cara Program 

How did you first become interested in a nonprofit career?

I began my career in corporate sales with Nestle. After that job and an inside sales role selling a web-based software, I realized I wasn’t finding fulfillment in the corporate sector. I came from a background of service and knew I needed to make an impact on the lives of others every day. It was after these jobs that I moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where I found true community and love while volunteering at Casa de los Angeles, a daycare for single mothers. This experience at Casa inspired me to take on a nonprofit career.

Who is your professional mentor and why?

Steve Sullivan is the man! Steve has helped me grow immensely over the past four and a half years. Prior to serving as the Executive Director for Public Allies Chicago, Steve took on many positions within The Cara Program. I have learned a lot from him through his experiences in those roles. However, it’s Steve’s entrepreneurial mindset that has inspired me the most. Steve just launched his own eco-friendly, athletic apparel company – Fibre Athletics. Check out the rad clothes (and the social impact Fibre is making) at!

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue facing the nonprofit and social impact sector in Chicago?

While organizations within the sector will always face challenges and resource constraints, the social impact sector in Chicago continues to grow. Nonprofit organizations are tackling some of Chicago’s greatest troubles while simultaneously contributing over $2 billion dollars to the local economy annually. However, for the sector to continue to succeed, nonprofit organizations are going to need to be able to attract, develop, and retain top talent. This is an especially pressing issue as college debt continues to rise and wages in the nonprofit sector lag behind those in the private sector. The social impact sector must highlight its impact while providing opportunities for development and advancement for those interested in working in nonprofits. YNPN Chicago has done a lot towards promoting the social impact sector, while supporting those who want to grow their career. As a recent graduate of the YNPN Leadership Institute, I can attest that it is a fantastic program that inspires and develops up-and-coming leaders within the sector.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

I’m not a great musician, but nothing inspires me more than live music. Several nights a week I hit one of Chicago’s music venues – I can’t get enough! I love the Chicago music scene so much that I’ve taken on a part time gig working at Thalia Hall in Pilsen. I don’t work a lot, but help with production a few shows a month. If you haven’t been, come down and check out a show at Thalia Hall. It’s the city’s most gorgeous intimate venue! Who says you can’t have a little side hustle while doing what you love most?

If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you choose?

I would travel to Costa Rica and get to know the people there. I’d love to immerse myself in the culture and live the Pura Vida!

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.