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Spotlight! Michael Nearpass (Leadership Institute Edition)


Name: Michael Nearpass


Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his


Job Title: Development Manager


Organization: Chicago Jazz Philharmonic


Time in current role: 1.5 years


College/School: Indiana University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Areas of study: Jazz performance and music composition


What do you like most about working in the nonprofit sector: I enjoy doing work that I feel is important and responsive to the needs of my neighbors and community.

What drew you to the Leadership Institute? I have a friend who mentioned a number of times that I should look into this leadership program they were involved with through an organization called YNPN. A few months later, I got an email from a different friend that had a link to this Leadership Institute application and a note saying they had learned a lot from YNPN and that I should consider applying. I decided that if I was getting the same advice from two different people who I respected, I should follow it.

Favorite vacation you’ve been on: Travelling solo to Berlin. It wasn’t supposed to be a solo trip but midway through the planning process, my travel partner found out they had gotten a lottery spot to run in the Berlin Marathon occurring 2 weeks after our scheduled trip. It was too late for me to reschedule so I decided to go by myself and scope out the city before they arrived.

What age did you become an adult: Next year. It feels like I’m really close.


Any guilty pleasures? I don’t believe in the concept of “guilty pleasures”. People should embrace the things that make them happy. That being said, I am really hoping Everton avoid relegation this season.

What advice would you give to people joining the nonprofit sector? Be intentional about why you’re joining the nonprofit world. Nonprofit work can be incredibly rewarding but that often comes at a cost (long hours, low salary, piecing together multiple part-time jobs, etc). Burnout can happen quickly if you don’t have a good balance or lose sight of why you got involved in the first place.



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