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Spotlight! Jillian Abbinanti (Leadership Institute Edition)

Name: Jillian Abbinanti

Job title: Community Engagement Manager

Organization: 826CHI

Time in current role: 2.5 months!

College/School: North Park University

Area of study/expertise: Double Major: Theatre & Performance Studies, Early Childhood Education with a concentration in ESL

What do you like most about working in the nonprofit sector? That I can still connect with young people and educators but through different channels.

Additional information you would like to highlight: I am also a board member with Playmakers Laboratory! We recently saved the organization from closing for good and are hosting an ongoing GoFundMe to ensure the stability of the organization for the long haul,

What drew you to the Leadership Institute? A former coworker of mine at Urban Gateways was part of the cohort last year. It helped her through a tough time in our organization and lead her to a new career.

What do you hope to accomplish in your time in the YNPN LI Cohort? When I first applied for the YNPN LI Cohort I was with my former job, ready to move on with a fresh start. I was hoping to make connections and gain the confidence to start the grind of looking for a new job. Then just a few weeks before the Cohort started I got a new job! Now I would love to gain confidence in leading our large volunteer pool, networking tips, and ways to do meaningful outreach.

What drew you to the nonprofit sector?· After getting teacher burnout and living the freelancer lifestyle I was feeling stagnant in my career. I wanted to still work with organizations but on a bigger scale to make more impact with teaching artists and young people

Favorite vacation you've ever been on? Well, currently I am planning a Disney Vacation with my partner and his son. I haven't been since I was a kid!

What do you like to do in your spare time? I LOVE TV. I've seen so many shows, good and bad. I love a sitcom or a bad reality tv show. My partner is an avid skateboarder so I'm learning and hoping to roll around with him this summer. Seeing live music and theatre. Also a big beer snob so I'm at a brewery any chance I can get.

Any guilty pleasures? There are no such things as "guilty pleasures"! We should all like what we like with the unabashed confidence of a teen girl. But if I had to choose something it would probably be sticky sweet bubble gum pop of the early 00s. Or the 90 Day Fiancé TLC franchise.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? Begrudgingly my alarm but really just knowing that it's one day closer to the weekend.

What is your favorite hidden gem in Chicagoland? Ava's Italian Ice

Where is your hometown? Chicago! I was born and raised in the house my grandmother grew up in in Lakeview!

You're happiest when ____. I'm watching my partner's son have a good time. We love visiting different places throughout the city like parks and arcades. He makes everything 100% more fun.

What's your go-to karaoke song? Everywhere by Michelle Branch

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