Erica Rivero, Director of Inventory and Systems Management at Thistle Farms, is a member of the Young Leaders Council Nashville Class 76. In a recent discussion, Erica shares how participating in the YLC program, where she received training on how to be an impactful board member at a non-profit, enhances her capabilities as a professional in the non-profit sector.

Kate: Thank you for sitting down to share your experience with the YLC, Erica! How did you first learn about the Young Leaders Council?
Erica: Glad to be here! I first heard about the YLC because Thistle Farms, my employer, hosted a YLC intern. I am someone who is passionate about leadership and the non-profit sector, so the program sparked my interest.

Kate: We are glad that you got involved! What has been the most valuable part of the YLC program to you?

Erica: Many of my class members are new to learning about non-profits and the types of community-based-organizations that we have here locally. I have worked in this space since my time as a student at Belmont so I came to the program with a different lens.

The best thing about the YLC program for us all is that the YLC instructors all have deep experience in non-profit management. They have all worked in the space for a long time. They understand the problems that non-profits face; for instance, the challenges associated with growth. We are learning from experts in the YLC program.

Through the YLC, I have gained a better understanding of how my own organization functions, which strengthens my leadership capacity as an employee. For instance, Noah Spiegel’s session on board member responsibilities included a discussion of the life cycles of non-profits. This session provided context that situated my understanding of the growth of the non-profit social enterprise where I work within the broader non-profit sector.

Kate: Thank you for sharing – and congratulations on recently completing the program! What are your hopes for what’s next, now that you’re a YLC alum?

Erica: On a practical level, I love that this program allowed me to learn about other non-profits in our community. The community response to the COVID-19 pandemic illustrated the importance of partnerships between non-profit to meet community needs. No one organization could do everything alone. I will take the knowledge and relationships gained through YLC to continue to connect with other non-profits for partnerships moving forward.

I love how Nashville welcomes immigrants, and I will serve as a board intern at Conexión Americas starting this fall. I am excited to play a larger role in connecting immigrants to resources right here in Nashville. I am passionate about leadership and social justice and I will find ways to continue contributing in this space.