Youth Explore Careers in Government and Nonprofits

This summer, Enterprise for Youth’s virtual Career Exploration program worked to expose youth to new ideas and fields through the use of workshops, panels, discussions, research, and other activities. As an intern at Enterprise, I joined the youth in the program as they engaged in a government and nonprofit career panel, each meeting three professionals in breakout sessions on Zoom. As someone interested in pursuing a career in nonprofit work, I was honored to hear from Angela Sierra, Nínive Calegari, and Ana Avalos Tizol about their work experiences, career advice, and inspirations.

Angela Sierra discussed her role in public service as the Chief Assistant Attorney General of the California Department of Justice’s Division of Public Rights. She oversees a legal services team that aims to protect consumers from unfair business practices and preserve the state’s land and natural resources. In giving advice, Angela reinforced the importance of seeking mentors and looking for ways to improve one’s analytical and persuasive writing skills. 

Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise for Youth Ninive Calegari
speaks on a nonprofit career panel.

We all know Nínive Calegari as the CEO of Enterprise for Youth. Before leading this organization, however, she served for many years as the Co-Founder and Director of 826 Valencia, a nonprofit supporting under-resourced students in their writing skills. What started as a San Francisco community-based endeavor has expanded into a national organization with nine chapters across the country! Having observed Nínive in action, I am so inspired by her passion for education, as well as her efforts to raise the societal and financial value of teaching as a profession. 

Currently the Career Linkage Program Director at Mission Graduates, Ana Avalos Tizol dedicates her passion for education by guiding Mission District youth in their pursuit of higher education. Having graduated from Mission High School herself, she felt compelled to return to her community and uplift those who used to be in the same position as her. 

Han Zou, Aide to District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney

Other youth had the pleasure to learn from different speakers working in government and nonprofits. They heard from former Enterprise alumna, Fellenia Chan who is now a student at Boston University and a fellow at the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and their Families (DCYF), Paula Smith Arrigoni the Executive Director of Bay Area Video Coalition, (another local nonprofit fostering careers in the arts among young people), and Han Zou serves as an aide to District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney. 

Words of Advice

  • Look for mentors and make use of your existing connections
  • Take courses that allow you to practice your writing skills
  • Be open to new opportunities in various fields of work

My Experience

Through my involvement with Enterprise over the past four years, I have found an interest in pursuing a career in nonprofit management. In addition to completing four internships through Enterprise, the array of professional development opportunities have awarded me the wisdom and motivation to be able to establish and achieve my personal goals. This panel truly highlighted the diversity of jobs and roles within nonprofits and public service, deepening my understanding of potential future careers. Despite different tasks or approaches, those who choose to work in this sector all desire to address and solve issues they see in their daily lives. 

Thank you to all of our wonderful speakers for taking the time out of their schedules to support Enterprise’s mission. For many of the youth who are participating in this summer’s Career Exploration Program, this may be their first time learning about certain career paths. Despite not being able to meet in person, they asked insightful questions and listened intently. Even during the age of social distancing, it is so great to know that youth have a safe space to discover their aspirations, which will ultimately enable them to change the world in the future.  

By Jeffrey Lee, Enterprise for Youth intern