My Mentor and the Nonprofit Industry | #3

My supervisor during this internship experience is Ebonie, the Health Program Manager at Brilliant Detroit. Although she is my supervisor, I would consider Ebonie my mentor as well. Ebonie is very busy, as she manages all of the Health Programs and more. People joke that she does as much if not more as the head of the nonprofit. Despite being busy, Ebonie often makes time to chat and she seems to always be cheerful and pleasant.

At the beginning of my internship, things were a bit more formal between us than they are now. I’m glad that we have become less formal, as I’ve had a blast talking with Ebonie and hearing all she has to say. I especially value her being open about the experiences she has had that have led her to do the work she does at Brilliant Detroit. It is great to know someone who has been in similar situations as myself and to see the success she has had in finding a career she loves.

Ebonie is a good mentor because she is always positive and supportive. She is thorough in answering questions and gives me information and input on a variety of topics including the workings of the nonprofit, school, work, etc. One thing I recently learned from Ebonie about Brilliant Detroit, and many other similar-scale nonprofits, is the level of interconnection between us and other groups and organizations. Brilliant Detroit has around 65 partners ranging from universities to private companies to neighborhood committees. While I figured that many of the larger partners are hefty sponsors for the nonprofit, I hadn’t realized the level of interaction between each partner and Brilliant Detroit. For instance, Wayne State is heavily involved with the nonprofit – Ebonie is technically their employee and thus they are behind the health programs. I think the best part about this partnership system is that Brilliant Detroit is partnered with neighborhood groups. It’s so important that the people that Brilliant Detroit serves are involved in what the nonprofit provides for them. Neighborhoods invite Brilliant Detroit to come in and they are the ones to ask for programs in specific fields, not the other way around. From my observation, this is not always the case for other organizations, so I think it is fantastic that Brilliant Detroit is people-centered and caters entirely to the community’s needs and wants.

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