By Denman Wall
In the final eInterview of 2017, we meet Heather Layland, the BBB Serving Metropolitan New York’s Charity Accountability Program Director. Heather has taken over the helm of the Next Generation Group, already making an impact by helping to plan and facilitate a recent jam-packed NextGen SIG. Heather, who is from California, has taken to the New York scene and brings a bright, new perspective to NYSAE.
And here we go…
Heather Layland, Charity Accountability Program Manager Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan NY and Chair, NYSAE Next Generation Shared Interest Group (Next Gen)
Denman Wall: Hi, Heather. Thanks so much for taking some time to be interviewed for InView and for leading the NYSAE NextGen group. Tell our readers a bit about how you became involved in the Better Business Bureau Serving Metro New York and your pathway to what you do now within that organization.
Heather Layland: I moved from California to New York City to make a career change after working in the insurance industry for eight years. While pursuing my Master’s in Public Administration, I attended the BBB’s Forum on Corporate Responsibility and was very impressed with the event and the work that the BBB does in the consumer education space for both businesses and charities. Their mission of creating trust between charities and donors resonated with me and aligned with what I was studying. I joined the BBB in 2012 as a program associate, assisting with event logistics. I really enjoyed the fast-paced environment and diversity of our events but wanted to be more hands-on, working directly with non-profits. After holding several positions within BBB, an opportunity to lead the Charity Accountability Program opened up, and here I am! Today, I work with non-profits all over New York state of every size helping them to implement our Standards for Charity Accountability which strengthen their ability to deliver their missions.
Denman: That’s cool. I love California, but not being a New York native, can also understand the desire to move to this incredible city! Tell us about your path through NYSAE as a guest first, then NYSAE member and now the leader of the Next Generation Group.
Heather: I first attended as a guest of BBB’s President & CEO, Claire Rosenzweig, who was on NYSAE’s board of directors for many years and now a current a member. I enjoyed the experience, so I became a NexGen member. I was then provided with an opportunity to chair the NexGen group when the position became vacant this year.
Denman: Thanks for sharing that. What are some of the most memorable experiences, projects or people that have molded you into the non-profit leader you are today?
Heather: Building relationships has been key to my leadership style. I enjoy speaking at events and putting a friendly face to the BBB brand because it creates a forum for honest conversation. Often times I find myself discussing the challenges that my colleagues are facing in the sector, which inspires me to find and provide resources to help.
Denman: Awesome. What advice would you share with others who are just now entering the non-profit workforce?
Heather: The answer to that for me is threefold: 1) Having a passion for the sector and the mission you serve is key, 2) Networking and doing informational interviews with people who hold positions you aspire to will provide valuable insight into the role and help you in developing a plan to get there, and 3) Most of us in this sector wear multiple hats and work very hard, so having a healthy work/life balance is essential to being the best employee you can be and help to avoid burn out.
Denman: How can NYSAE be a resource to the next generation of non-profit and association professionals?
Heather: NYSAE provides valuable networking opportunities for meeting other like-minded professionals who learn from each other. In addition to networking, the special interest groups encourage in-depth, topic specific discussions and learning opportunities.
Denman: What is the coolest part about being a professional and/or living in New York? If you had to convince one of your out-of-town friends to move to New York, what would you tell them?
Heather: The culture! New York is incredibly vibrant with people from all over the world! I’ve made many wonderful connections here, both professional and personal. There is a club or group for every interest and no shortage of great restaurants, events, and adventure right outside your door!
Thank you, Heather! And thanks for being a member and a leader in NYSAE.
Denman Wall is the Director of Interactive Services for Dolci Management and Editor of InView Newsletter.