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Spotlight! Jillian Harmon (Leadership Institute Edition)


Name: Jillian Harmon

Preferred Pronouns: she/her

Job Title: Assistant Director, Programs

Organization: Project Invent

Time in Current Role: 2 months as Assistant Director (and nearly 2 years at Project Invent!)

College/School: Cornell University

Area of study/expertise: Development Sociology with Education minor


What do you like most about working in the nonprofit sector? I'm an incredibly mission-driven person, and I love waking up every day knowing that I have an opportunity to move the needle on issues I'm passionate about.

Additional information you would like to highlight: I recently completed my 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Certification through Breathe for Change, a yoga & socioemotional learning program created specifically for teachers and education leaders!

If you could shadow anyone in the nonprofit sector, who would it be? I'm a huge fan of Patrick Cook-Degan, Founder of Wayfinder. I'm incredibly passionate about purpose-based learning, and I wish there were more programs that helped young people reflect on their values and find deeper meaning and purpose in their lives. I envision a world where people are empowered to be just as aware of their inner landscape as they are about the world around them, and Patrick is leading the way in that arena. I would love to spend a day talking with him about the future of purpose-based learning.

What drew you to join the YNPN LI Cohort? There are so many incredible young nonprofit folks in Chicago, yet it's difficult to find a common space to meaningfully connect with each other. Joining the YNPN LI Cohort has been a priceless opportunity to grow alongside an amazing network of peers experiencing many of the same challenges I'm facing. During my time in the Cohort, I'm most excited to share and overcome challenges in a supportive community, as well as build connections with peers who are just as passionate about social impact as I am.

Personal Mantra: As a young professional woman and Filipino American, I spent a lot of my early career seeking the approval of others as a barometer of success. A big moment of growth for me was learning how to separate my self-worth from my career and the judgements of others. Today, when I catch myself seeking external approval, I return to the mantra, "Do I approve of myself?" It's a simple, yet incredibly powerful question that helps me lead from my values.

Favorite vacation you've ever been on? I went on a mini-retreat last year to Sedona, Arizona with my book club, Between the Covers. We all read the same book in preparation for the trip and spent a few days bonding over beautiful hikes, group dinners, and a shared love of books. It was magical!


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