WTOP: 5 ways nonprofits can…
Nonprofit HR’s Talent Acquisition team places hundreds of candidates in positions each year. This story features a recent placement who is making incredible impacts in the social sector.
Interviewee: Kenneth Bukoski (KB)
Current Organization: Commonwealth
Current Title: Manager of Operations
Hi Kenneth. Thank you for chatting with us today. Before we get started, Nonprofit HR extends many congratulations to you for landing your most recent role! It’s such a big win when we match mission-driven talent like yourself with roles that put their passion and purpose in action. Let’s start at the beginning. What lead you to a career in the nonprofit sector? What skills do you think you bring to the sector?
KB: The first thing that led me to work in the nonprofit sector was the chance to work for mission-driven organizations that give their employees a sense of purpose and drive in the work they do. This is something that more and more people appear to be seeking across sectors these days, which is a great thing. Many nonprofits need to be nimble in the way they operate due to limited budgets or staffs that are stretched thin. As an Operations professional in the nonprofit world, I try to bring a sense of “scrappiness” and flexibility in the way I work to ensure the organization and all employees are set up for success each day.
What drew you to your current organization’s mission? What do you love about it?
KB: Wealth inequality in America has always been an issue that resonates with me. When I learned about the innovative ways that the team at Commonwealth was working on to enable financially vulnerable people an opportunity to build wealth for themselves and their families I was immediately drawn in and wanted to learn more. I love the mission because I believe that society is stronger when everyone has access to equal opportunities, especially when it comes to financial security.
What do you love about the culture of your new organization?
KB: The first thing I noticed about the culture at Commonwealth is the great camaraderie the entire team shares. Starting with my welcome breakfast on my first day I could tell that it was a tight-knit group and everyone was extremely welcoming which put me more at ease during my first week. I’ve also found that it’s a very supportive culture here, and people always seem up for lending a helping hand or giving advice when needed.
What excites you the most about your new role?
KB: The thing that excites me the most as the new Operations Manager at Commonwealth is being able to dive into all the different systems, policies and cultural practices at the organization and looking for ways to build upon and improve them where it makes the most sense. The other aspect I love about this is that it takes a lot of conversations and interactions with my new team in order for me to learn about how the organization operates and what has and has not been working well. This gives me an opportunity to really get to know the staff and begin building great relationships with everyone.
What impact do you wish to have in your new role?
KB: The biggest impact I hope to have in this role is creating “operational excellence” at Commonwealth which means that the team here will have the support and tools that they need in order to execute on the important work that Commonwealth does. I aim to be a “go-to” operations person who people can depend on and feel comfortable approaching with issues big and small alike. My door is always open!
What advice would you give jobseekers looking for their next dream role in the sector?
KB: I would advise people to give serious consideration to exactly what it is they’re looking for not only in a role but also in a nonprofit organization. Does the organization’s mission align with my values? Will the size of an organization impact the ways in which I do my best work? What kind of culture will I thrive in? Having clarity around my own expectations for a work environment in the nonprofit sector made it easier to ask the right questions during the interview process to better inform my decision around accepting an offer.
What was the most valuable part of the direct hire process? What should we keep the same?
KB: I really liked having an initial interview with one of the team members at Nonprofit HR. This allowed me and Nonprofit HR to determine if my skill set matched the role that I applied for and to set expectations right upfront. I would keep this in place.
How has the team exceeded your expectations while working with us?
KB: Overall, it was the great communication and support that I received from the team at Nonprofit HR. It was helpful to have someone to speak with who could tell me about the organization and role I applied for and to have a chance to ask candid questions that I might not otherwise have asked. I was always kept informed of where we were in the hiring process and had a clear understanding of the next steps to drive things forward. I would keep this aspect of the way Nonprofit HR works the same as it gives jobseekers some peace of mind knowing that someone will be responsive to my questions, thoughts and concerns throughout the entire interview process.