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Beyond NPL: Post-Grad Perspectives from the Field

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Join NPL alumni for a panel discussion on post-graduate careers in the nonprofit and social impact sector. Topics will include navigating the job search, leveraging your NPL experience in your professional role, and advice for graduating students as you prepare for life beyond Penn. Open to all Penn students interested in learning more about nonprofit careers.


Alison Floyd started her career in child welfare as a social worker with the Philadelphia based nonprofit, Turning Points for Children. After identifying a gap in agency services, Alison was selected to lead the organization’s emergency hunger-relief initiative. In 2013, Alison launched the Food and Wellness Network (FAWN) at Turning Points that quickly grew to annually connect thousands of local families to a healthier choice-based food pantry and other essential services. Alison then served as the Operations Coordinator for the Philadelphia-based Nonprofit Repositioning Fund, a pooled fund supporting formal, long-term collaborations between nonprofits. In this role, she led the start-up operations for the Fund’s grant-making efforts, expediting the application process and delivering more precise grantee data for impact assessments. Alison currently serves as the Chief of Staff for Development, Marketing & Communications at the national education nonprofit City Year. In this role, she coordinates the strategy and operations in support of optimizing City Year’s external positioning while enhancing focus on private sector fundraising, development operations, and transformational investments for the organization. Alison holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from LaSalle University and an MS in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Joel Ballew is the Executive Director of Open Doors in Harrisonburg, Virginia, a non-profit whose mission is to provide shelter, compassionate support and access to services for individuals experiencing homelessness. Over the past year Joel has worked to bring stability and direction to the central service Open Doors offers, operating a low barrier shelter for the city of Harrisonburg and the surrounding areas. Open Doors provides access to healthcare, housing, and case management services for over 200 unique individuals annually with a staff of 15. Joel’s past work experience includes facilities management, capital fundraising, and strategic planning. He credits his experience in the NPL program at Penn with expanding and developing the leadership skills needed to thrive in todays culture as a nonprofit leader. Joel believes that making a positive impact in our communities through nonprofits will require creativity, collaboration, and communication that is mindful of the past — but bold enough to transcend barriers of exclusion, injustice, and boring ways of thinking.

Rose Brown is an Adjunct Business and Nonprofit Professor in Raleigh, NC. Rose is also PhD student studying Organizational Behavior and Leadership at the University of North Carolina. Her research investigates the contexts needed in the workplace to effectively empower and professionally advance historically disenfranchised populations. With a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry and the nonprofit sector, she is skilled in program evaluation, project management, data entry, and research. Rose is a strong community relations professional with a Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, a Professional Certificate in Organizational Leadership in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Organizational Management from University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Sharmila Pal serves as the current Chief Executive Officer of Amrita-Seattle. Based in between the Seattle office and program sites in utmost rural parts of India, Sharmila brings to Amrita-Seattle eight years of lived experience in all aspects of our grassroots service and social impact. A seasoned globe trotter and an international marine research voyageur with 256 days spent at sea, Sharmila previously served as Amrita-Seattle’s Program Officer travelling to utmost rural areas in India and Nepal to visit clients. Sharmila holds two bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Oceanography from the University of Washington, followed by her by master’s in Marine Chemistry from University of South Carolina, and Non-Profit Leadership and Management from University of Pennsylvania.


Elizabeth Abel is a Corporate Vice President at CCS Fundraising, a leading strategic consulting and fundraising management firm to nonprofit organizations worldwide. Since joining CCS in 2013, Elizabeth has partnered with institutions in the education, arts and culture, religion, and advocacy sectors to plan and implement transformational fundraising campaigns with revenue goals ranging from $5 million to $500 million. In this role, she provides counsel on strategic planning, principal and major gifts fundraising, and volunteer engagement. Elizabeth has also directed campaign planning studies, served in interim development roles, and managed annual campaigns and special fundraising events.

Elizabeth is an Instructor at the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also serves on the Board of the Nonprofit Leadership Program Alumni Association. In 2020, she was inducted into the SP2 Alumni Hall of Fame for her work with mission-driven organizations. Elizabeth holds a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University. She resides in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Event Details

April 14, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:
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