Member Spotlight: Nha Nguyen

YNPN St. Louis has a diverse membership supported by many disciplines of the nonprofit sector. Believe it or not, our members come from more than 70 nonprofits throughout the St. Louis region!

This week we're featuring Nha Nguyen, Sr. Business Loan Officer at the International Institute of St. Louis and a member of the newest class of participants in our year-long mentorship program.

Your favorite place in St. Louis and why? It is hard to pick one because I have so many favorite places: Forest Park , the Fox Theatre, Pappy's Smokehouse, Café Natasha, John's Donut, Ethnic Olive... just to name a few. Ok, so I have to pick one and... it has to be Soulard Farmers Market. I love that the market is so colorful—they sell everything there. It is lively and crowed, I feel like enjoying a festival when strolling around that huge place. Early this Fall I got to bring home the most beautiful mums ever—vibrant, huge and bloomed to the fullest. Also a few of my clients have kiosks there so it is wonderful to enjoy my time and see their businesses doing great.

How did you get involved in YNPN St. Louis? YNPN started the mentorship program and our CEO Anna Crosslin thought that it could benefit me. So here I am!

How have you focused your career on the nonprofit sector? When I first arrived in this country I didn't know much about nonprofits. I needed a job at that time and the International Institute had a position in which I could use my knowledge for and provide for myself. I grew up with the job, finding joys in helping refugees. I love what I'm doing and have stayed for more than 5 years!

What advice would you give to young professionals considering a nonprofit job? Two things. First, passion. The nonprofit sector is growing bigger and it is easier now to find work in what closest to your heart, from animals, to children and women's rights, or refugees. Second, connection. Take stock of what connects you with the job, whether it be your skills, family, background, experience, or goals. While passion is a good start, connection will tie you to the job and give you a wonderful nonprofit journey.

If you could host a talk show, who would be your first guest and why? Ellen DeGeneres would be my first choice. She is popular and would definitely attract many viewers. She inspires people, loves animals, and stands for women rights. Plus, her message of being kind to one another is one I stand for and support.

What do you hope to accomplish that you haven't yet? One of the items on my to-do list this year is to invest. I'm researching, studying risk management and mapping out retirement savings but have not started yet. This is first for my own good. But second is to share these experiences with the refugee and immigrant community. I have been teaching several financial classes and realized my clients are getting better with money management but still not comfortable with banking and investing. I want to provide information that's relatively simple and easy to understand. I believe this will encourage more clients to plan for retirement and not depend solely on social security.

What has been your favorite YNPN St. Louis event and why?

I am brand new to YNPN so I have only attended two events—I liked both! One was the job interview event. The panelists and attendees interacted with one another and at the end of the event attendees had the chance to have private conversations one on one with each panelist. I learned a lot that day. The other was our Happy Hour for Mentorship program. The organizers did a great job with the layout, the connections to all guests. and we had great time networking. The venue was nice and cozy as well!