Community involvement is one of my favorite aspects of the culture here at Navigate. As a company and as individuals, we’re encouraged to pursue causes and activities that we’re passionate about. I, along with other Navigate colleagues, proudly work with the Philadelphia chapter of Compass.Compass’ mission is to inspire business professionals to engage with local nonprofits and transform communities. Each year, Compass receives applications from nonprofits in the region who are seeking help tackling strategic challenges that they are not fully equipped to address on their own. The organization selects several projects where it feels it can make the most impact, deploying a small team of volunteers to work with the nonprofit over the course of about seven months, providing approximately $150,000 of strategic consulting services per project at no cost.
Compass volunteers are selected from a competitive field of applicants, with demonstrated expertise in a range of functional areas including strategic planning, finance, marketing and communications, change management, technology, operations, and consulting – and many possess their MBAs from top business schools.
As a resident of the great state of New Jersey, I am always interested in opportunities to serve my local community. In my second year as a Compass volunteer, I was excited to be placed with Hopeworks, a nonprofit based in Camden – a milestone marking Compass’ first project in New Jersey.
Hopeworks seeks to connect local youth to life-changing opportunities to build strong futures and break the cycle of violence and poverty by providing them with training and education, followed by real-world, on-the-job experience interning with businesses in the region. The organization has experienced rapid growth, and more youth than ever before have been applying for the program. Hopeworks has ambitious growth goals – goals that it needs to achieve to continue to fuel and fund the organization’s rapid growth and enable more young people to transform their lives.
My team of eight professionals was brought in to help Hopeworks’ leadership team develop a strategic marketing plan to clarify its value proposition, define its messaging, build a cross-channel strategy, and set metrics to evaluate progress and identify areas of improvement.
As Deputy Project Leader, I worked closely with the Project Leader and the Executive Director of Hopeworks to provide key project management oversight, with a focus on leading the value proposition workstream to help clarify, refine, test, and define its related messaging.
Our project cycle recently came to a close, and Compass held an appreciation event for all its volunteers and the nonprofit teams. The Executive Director of Hopeworks was asked to speak about his experience, and he emphasized how happy he was – the project resulted in immediate value and outcomes that the organization otherwise wouldn’t have been able to achieve with its limited bandwidth. The organization’s culture and mindset has started to shift and evolve to suit its future needs, and the impact has been significant.
My work with Compass these past two years has been immensely gratifying, both personally and professionally. I enjoy leveraging my expertise to give back to my community and connect with the people around me. It’s also been a great learning opportunity; these projects enable me to enhance my skills and think creatively by working with populations and problem sets that are related but different to what I take part in at Navigate. As a result, I am able to approach my day-to-day work with a fresh perspective.
Over the past six years, Compass has conducted 70 projects, engaged over 500 volunteers, and provided $10.4 million in strategy consulting services. With the support of my company and team, I’m proud and honored to play a role in such a wonderful organization.