A Farewell from Nicki Patnaude

October 31, 2013

“Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.”  – Garrison Keillor

Time sure has a way of flying past us.  I know it sounds terribly cliché, but it really does feel like I just started my AmeriCorps Promise Fellow term yesterday.  In reality, it’s been nine months and I learned more than I thought I ever could in such a short time.  Throughout my time at MPM, I have had many opportunities to learn new skills while meeting and collaborating with community leaders.  I have had many highlights while serving with MPM and would love to share some of those with you.

One of the first ones happened the first week of my term of service: the Lady Gaga Born Brave Bus Tour.  I attended this event with Ashley, a fellow AmeriCorps member at the time.  We had the opportunity to talk to Lady Gaga’s little monsters (her name for her fans) about mentors in their lives and provide resources to those who were interested in finding a mentor.  At the event, we ended up within two feet of Lady Gaga—something neither of us thought would happen.  The energy of the room was a great way to kick of my term of service.

Another highlight would be helping to plan the 2012 Youth Day at the Capitol with the Youth Policy Alliance.  I had experience attending and planning the event in previous work and internship experiences so I was excited to continue the rewarding opportunity for young people to share their stories with their elected officials.  I will never NOT be amazed at what happens at Youth Day.  Watching the transformation from tired and nervous young people at registration to energized and empowered young people after their meetings will always inspire me.

Part of my service here at MPM included new and challenging opportunities, specifically in terms of marketing and resource development.  I was able to participate with the marketing team on a pro-bono collaborative with Weber Shandwick, a global public relations firm.  I have always had an interest in marketing and how non-profits can share their messages effectively.  This opened up a whole new view of the work we do here at MPM.  I learned to think strategically about key messaging and helped edit a PR Toolkit that is now being used by mentoring programs in Minnesota and around the country.  I would have never considered a career in marketing for non-profits but am definitely interested in exploring my newfound passion in that realm of our field.

Another new and scary adventure for me was the wonderful world of grant-writing.   Now, I have had some experience writing small grants for projects for my previous employers but nothing on the scale that Mai-Anh does here at MPM.  Under her guidance, I developed and enhanced my writing and editing abilities.  This lead to me taking the lead on a grant for our organization which was definitely something I never saw myself being able to do prior to my service here.

When reflecting on my time here, Garrison Keillor’s words struck with me.  I know this is not goodbye (I already came back once!).  We have done amazing work together and know it will continue for all of us now that our paths are separating for the time being.  I wish all my colleagues I have had the pleasure to work with and my MPM family well, to continue doing the good work you do each day, and to keep in touch.

Kind regards,

Nicki Patnaude