Forty Under 40: Jill Niswander
Director, communications and fund development, EMBARC
Friday, March 17, 2017 6:00 AM
Fun Fact: Jill has her motorcycle license. She owned a custom edition Kawasaki Vulcan 900. But after being pregnant for back-to-back summers, her riding days were over. For now.
Mentor: My mom, Pat Aldrich
One word to describe herself: Authentic
What are your goals in your role at your company?
I will help EMBARC create a solid infrastructure foundation that supports its growth over the next five years. I hope to support that growth by not only implementing effective and efficient processes/policies but by increasing the amount of discretionary funding the organization brings in to support its programming.
What are your goals for your community involvement?
Continue working with Beacon of Life, increasing donations to make it a sustainable refuge for homeless women. I will increase awareness about the Beacon’s mission, and hope to increase awareness about the epidemic of incarceration in our country and its impact on the nation’s workforce and its families.
What’s your biggest passion, and why?
I am a passionate advocate for the human race. I believe that love wins. I believe in more compassion, more empathy and more grace. I believe in being a voice for those that struggle to be heard.
What is it that drives you?
I’ve always been driven to succeed — voted most likely to succeed in high school — I did well in the corporate environment. My focus changed to nonprofits when I began volunteering at a domestic violence shelter. Meeting women whose lives were so different from my own changed my perspective forever.
What are your future aspirations?
I want to change the way nonprofits are funded and increase the impact they have because of it. I think funders are asking the wrong questions. Instead of “How is this sustainable?” how about “Are we effectively funding this project to bring about true social change?”
Four reasons she’s a Forty:
1. Jill turned her passion for volunteering into a career change when she co-founded Dress for Success Des Moines in 2011.
2. She became a passionate advocate for refugees when her career took her into business development at Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa; she is currently employed at EMBARC as the director of communications and fund development.
3. She continues work as a dedicated feminist by being an active member on the board of directors at the Beacon of Life.
4. She manages to juggle all these things in addition to being a wife and mom of four.
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