Applications for the 2022-2023 MAP Fellowship are officially open! In joining MFF’s community of professionals passionate about social impact, Fellows are paired with a Mentor who is a seasoned executive at a nonprofit organization. During the six-month, part-time Fellowship, Fellows help solve a complex challenge their Mentor’s organization is facing while receiving mentorship, all-expenses paid travel and more.
Sounds pretty great, right? We may be biased, but this is a can’t-miss opportunity for anyone looking to level up their skill sets and drive positive change.
We know applying to a new opportunity like this can be daunting though, especially while working or attending school. Beyond time limitations, self-doubt and imposter syndrome can hold back otherwise qualified candidates.
To help ease your mind, we sat down with a few 2021 MAP Fellows to chat with them about their Fellowship experience and share their advice for potential future Fellows.
Kimaya Karnawat: During my project, I spent some time traveling to conferences, conducting phone interviews, and analyzing survey data. You have plenty of freedom with your project, which enables you to keep things interesting. You can also view the time spent on this project as an investment in your future self—through my project, I improved my presentation and public speaking skills, which has helped me in my professional life.
Nicole Jones: Making time for what is important is a great trait for an upcoming leader. Time spent on the project is based on your level of engagement and making the most of the opportunity. Getting full support from your employer, family, and friends is key to being successful in the Fellowship. Making your time in this program a priority will benefit you in more ways than one, especially meeting with your mentor regularly.
Ami Scherson: That feeling is completely valid, as I also felt the same when I started. What is incredible about the MAP Fellowship is that you can connect with other Fellows for Mind Meld sessions and thought partnership. In addition, the programming staff is extremely supportive and accommodating to your needs as you grow. The challenges can feel new and difficult, but the Fellowship is built for Fellows to experience everything in a safe environment.
Victoria Bruick: One of the best parts of the MAP Fellowship is the support I received from all angles to work toward a solution to my challenge. In addition to close collaboration with my Mentor, I could pick the brains of other Mentors, meet with leaders in the field of my challenge, and benefit from the incredibly diverse professional and personal insights of my MAP cohort. Part of the challenge is that it’s BIG—there isn’t necessarily an obvious or easy solution—but that also means that you have a unique opportunity to experiment with ideas to see what works and what doesn’t work.
Kimaya: Absolutely, you do! The partnering organizations are looking for diversity in perspectives. Take an introspective lens towards your skills and professional experiences thus far, and think about how you can utilize these skills to solve the organization’s problem. There is no perfect solution, and you’ll be co-creating with your Mentor and other Fellows throughout the entire process.
Nicole: Of course! At any stage in building your professional career, you can and should contribute. You have a seat at the table on purpose, not by accident. Trusting in your ability to contribute your ideas, motivators, and even your mistakes, so that others can learn is always valuable. No matter how new you are to your current position, your age or your background, you will always have something to contribute to a conversation and a lot to gain.
Ami: The organizations that participate in the MAP Fellowship are looking for fresh perspective and innovative ideas to inspire change within their organizations. As a Fellow, you have the unique opportunity to not only hone your skills, but also share ideas from a new lens. You will have support and guidance from your Mentor and the MAP community. This is the perfect space to navigate and flex skills that you feel confident in, and those you want to cultivate more.
Megan McClendon: Absolutely. I had the same fear as an applicant with 15 years of career experience. I had recently become more interested in nonprofits and social impact and the MAP Fellowship was an incredibly impactful experience. I gained amazing support and connections. I was able to experiment with new ways of working, which catapulted me out of my day-to-day rhythms in the best way. Always keep learning, always stay curious.
Sally Rowland: Yes. The MAP Fellowship will give you an opportunity to dive into a specific social impact challenge, so you can continue to deepen your knowledge and understanding of a particular area—ideally an area that you’d like to pursue professionally. In addition to leading a social impact challenge and gaining real experience, you have continuous support from your Mentor and the MFF Team to further develop your skills and expand your professional network.
Ami: 100%! I was working in the nonprofit sector as an arts administrator and being able to work with a policy nonprofit in communications strategy was a pivotal experience for me. It challenged me to utilize the skills I learned in the arts and culture sector and apply it to sectors and challenges new to me. For someone who is interested in deepening their interest and skill in all types of social impact work, this is the place for you.
Kimaya: Yes! As a private sector employee, I also had this concern. I quickly realized that my perspective, while different, was still valuable to my organization and the broader MAP community. There are plenty of resources to learn more about the nuances of nonprofit strategies and business models.
Victoria: Absolutely! I knew little about the field of my organization and that meant that I was uniquely positioned to think outside of the box, ask questions others weren’t considering, and provide insight into what might work or not work based on my diverse experiences outside of the social impact space.
Megan: Most definitely! As an innovation consultant for both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, all organizations appreciate an outside perspective. It freshens up their thinking, challenges them in new ways and you’ll learn a ton in the process.
P.S. When you’re ready to apply, check out these application tips from MAP’s founding director, Tony Cohn.