Interns are a vital part to any business that integrates them correctly. They bring a fresh perspective, new ideas and not to mention a helping hand. Incorporating interns into your organization is an effective way to develop a pipeline for new and diverse talent as well as provide aspiring managers leadership and management opportunities. Even so, many people still have their doubts about the invaluable work performed by interns. If this is you, check out my article on Debunking Myths about Volunteers and Interns and my Tessitura talk talking about the value of interns to an organization. Okay, now that…


As Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) becomes more and more prevalent with larger companies like Target, Chase Bank, Disney World and Office Depot moving the needle in the community, it has encouraged many businesses large and small to consider doing the same. Often the food pantries, serving the homeless or anything the United Way or Habitat for Humanity does is top of mind. However, if you are passionate about the transformative power of the arts…consider looking to your nearest cultural arts organization as a way to give back.

Many cultural organizations such performing arts theaters, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens and museums…


In the heightened age of diversity and inclusion with everyone frantically trying to be more of both, it comes with a HUGE fear of offending those who are different from us.

Almost two years ago, our phone rang. On the other end was someone who was expressing that they wanted to be a part of our organization. She was explaining casually how much she loves the arts and wants to give her time. Then, just as caually she mentioned that she was blind. …


National Volunteer Appreciation Week is April 18th — April 24th. Volunteers are EVERYWHERE, yet often unseen. I challenge you to be on the lookout for volunteers this month, and when you spot one, show them a little love.

There are of course the obvious ones whose generosity stands out such as those who run the single mom or children’s ministry at your church, help feed the homeless or build homes.

But what about the ones, you don’t “see.” The ones who sit with preemies in the NICU, or the ones who counsel children who lost a parent to death, or…


I recently conducted a poll asking if internships should be paid or unpaid. The response was surprising, mostly, quite frankly because I didn’t think people “paid” that much attention to my posts, but that’s another story. The results were overwhelmingly in favor of paying interns. 85% of voters said internships should be paid (literally not ONE person out of 98 voters said internships should NOT be paid ), yet almost 43% of all internship programs ARE unpaid. Fascinating.


I know it’s a little late, but hey, better late than never. I remember as a single mom the stress and pressure of trying to give my daughter the best Christmas ever…especially because I knew her friends were getting awesome new bikes and shiny new Barbie dolls and all I could do was pray to get a mini sized tree and ornaments from the dollar store. It forced me to have to be creative and come up with meaningful ways to give, not only to her, but in general. As Christmas draws near and there is sure to be a…


It’s seriously time to look at goal setting differently. To make 2021 count, you absolutely have to “look” at goal setting differently. If you have a track record of falling short of new year’s resolutions, I challenge you to “look” at goal setting differently this year. In my journey as a Black, Latina single mother and a two-time divorcée, I have had MANY small wins that keep propelling me forward despite my struggles and grew my confidence in overcoming obstacles and hurdles. Goal Setting played a huge role in that. They say it’s not how you start but how you…


Picture of name badge with introvert written on it

We have been told over and over and over about the importance of networking, and it has never been as vital as it is now. We all know the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and in a world where the competition for employment is fierce, no truer words have been spoke.

Perfect, great. I understand it completely and vehemently agree with it. However, how do you do this when you are an introvert? When even the thought of being in a room with a group of strangers sends you running for the hills. When you…


Resilience is vital to managing staff whether paid staff or volunteers. But what makes some managers more resilient than others? Simply put, the decision to be resilient and a lot of practice. Building resilience is like lifting weights; the more you do it, the easier it becomes. It comes as the cost of constantly being uncomfortable and in a continual state of change, but the result, the bi-product of it, is fundamentally beautiful.

Let’s take a look at how one can build resilience as a manager.

1. Set Small Attainable Goals — This is important because It helps you actually…


I recently had an opportunity to share with a group of people what our organization was doing in terms of diversity within our volunteer program. Something happened that ALWAYS happens to me, but this time it truly enraged me, so I am doing what I always do, I am writing about it.

First of all, let me acknowledge that racism happens in many forms. Essentially, if you are not white, racism can rears its ugly head towards you. Even if you are white and happen to be poor, then there is classism which is racism-like for white people, and if…

Nicole R. Smith

Nicole is a Panamanian-American, single mom, workforce development specialist, published author, dancer, and motivational speaker. Her experience spans 20 yrs.

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