MPM Staff Spotlight: Nicki Patnaude

May 16, 2016

nicki twins

For many of you reading this blog post, you have had the great fortune of being in contact with Nicki Patnaude, Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota’s Development and Program Support Manager. Nicki brings a vibrant, lively spark to team MPM. She loves to meet and get to know our program partners, keep up-to-date on the latest and greatest in the mentoring and youth development fields, and provide tremendous customer service to all our internal and external stakeholders. Let’s get to know Nicki a little better….

Q: How did you land at MPM?

A: I came to MPM first as a graduate level intern as a part of the MSW program at the University of Minnesota. I remember being at the internship fair (shopping for an internship), and saw MPM’s booth. I loved the description of the organization, especially that it included a public policy focus. Going into grad school, I was looking to gain experience in community organizing and public policy. I was also interested in MPM as an intermediary organization – interning here was a challenge I wanted to pursue.

Q: In your own words, what is your job at MPM?

A: I manage grant writing efforts, support QMAP being piloted on a national level, and doing special projects as assigned…which can be just about anything 😉

Q: What tips do you have for mentoring programs trying to boost their development efforts?

A: I’ll share advice I heard at a workshop once: “When you go to funders and ask for money, you will get advice. When you go to funders and ask for advice, they will give you money.” I encourage programs not to be afraid of meeting with funders and sharing ideas they have for their program. Programs can ask funders what the funders see as successful practices from their experience that could be scaled in the program’s setting or community. When an RFP comes out, I like to contact the funder to talk about our program, ask about their program and see if there is alignment before submitting an application.

Q: What song do you belt out in the car when you are by yourself?

A: I have a whole playlist for that situation (well, really, a playlist for pretty much every situation)! Included on the ‘belt it out in the car’ playlist would have to be “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi.

Q: What’s something new happening in the mentoring field that excites you?

A: I’m intrigued by Youth Initiated Mentoring. It reflects my experience – I informally found my mentor, and we likely would not have been matched in a more formal setting. We had the structure of a larger social service organization ‘around’ our match, but it was largely informal. I’m also very excited about mentoring’s role in workforce development which involves workplace supervisors expanding how they see their role to include being a mentor.

Q: Describe your cube at MPM.

A: #inspirationstation.  It is colorful, has lots of pictures of friends and family, and many motivational/inspiring quotes. It is fun and is an environment that I can work well in.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote?

A: “She believed she could so she did.”

Q: What is something on your bucket list that you’ve recently checked off or plan to do?

A: I will be checking off a few items in June…. I’m taking a girls’ trip to explore the Pacific Coast Highway, which will also involve swimming the Pacific. I can’t wait!

Q: And finally, why mentoring?

A: Because mentoring works! It has the power to change people in a very positive way. I wouldn’t be where I am without the mentors I collected along the way. My mentors saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself, which allowed me to make choices I may not have otherwise seen.


Written by Carolyn Scherer, Director of Program Services