*Originally posted on Levoleague.com

The Essentials is our weekly column where we take a look at what necessities a woman with an awesome job needs to get through her day. Whether it’s Apps, music, gummy worms, red lipstick, or a power bag, we’ve got the scoop. 

Simone N. Sneed: Director of Development & External Affairs at Inwood House, a 183-year old non-profit utilizing a holistic youth development approach to interrupt cycles of intergenerational poverty. She is also the CEO and Founder of Catching Brilliance, a consulting firm that partners with social impact institutions to help them successfully launch, fund, manage, and assess strategic initiatives.   In addition, Simone is the special advisor to the One Percent Foundation and the Brown Boi Project, and is also the author behind the blog, Advice For a Brilliant Life. She speaks on women, wellness, and leadership at colleges and universities, and has been featured in Essence Magazine. 

You’ve already done so much at such a young age, where would you like to see yourself in five years?

Hosting a daytime talk show on a major network with a focus on women, wellness, and leadership solutions. Traveling and speaking around the world. Working with Fortune 500 companies and non-profits. I’d like the world to be better for women and girls.

You told me you manage to get seven hours of sleep every night. How do you do all the different things you do and do that? Tell us your ways!!

The trick is no negotiation. I’m asleep at 10:30, up at 5:30. I’m lucky that I fall asleep quickly, but I always use the Do Not Disturb feature on my Iphone. After being an insomniac for four years, I finally figured out my sleep routine and have never let it go.

The Essentials

The Essentials Simone Sneed

What pieces of technology do you always carry? iPhone, tablet, laptop?

iPad, iPhone. I’m a simple gal who uses Mac products.

What shoes do you wear for meetings or presentations?

Three inch, pointy-toe stilettos. Often, they’re shiny.

What shoes do you actually wear to get to the meeting?

Flats. Of course, I live in New York City and don’t want to hurt myself or my shoes. That said, I do my best to make sure they look fabulous with my outfit.

What do you usually eat for lunch or for a healthy snack?

Super organized food life!

Breakfast:  Oatmeal/Fruit or Green Juice with Hardboiled Eggs

Lunch: Salad or something I brought from home

Dinner: Salmon and greens

Snacks: Vitamins and water, fruit, cashews

But to tell you the truth, it takes all my willpower to not eat a Kit Kat every day at 3 p.m.

What’s in your junk food drawer?

Nothing, I steal sweets from my team members.

Drink at happy hour?

Malbec, port and every other week champagne, just because.

Favorite power-item piece of clothing or jewelry and where is it from?

Kenneth Cole Automatic Skeleton Watch

What items do you always keep under your desk or in your bag?

Nail polish! I hate chipped nails. My business card case, iPhone/Wall Case, emergency makeup, Moleskin notebook, tiny bottle of perfume, red lipstick, dental floss etc., It’s a closet in a purse! Every woman on the go lives a 24-hour life so you have to be prepared.

Exercise of choice?

On Mondays and Wednesdays I do Sculpt & Burn with Leticia. On Tuesdays I do Free Style Cardio. Thursdays is Spin with Ben, and Saturday is freestyle fun, ideally outdoors or spinning or dancing at Red Rooster with my girls!

Blogs or sites you read on breaks at work?

New York Magazine, Levo League, New York Times, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Havard Business Review, Fast Company, Refinery 29, The Glitter Guide, Apartment Therapy.

Your go-to work bag?

The Jetsetter Tote by Michael Kors in black saffiano leather

Apps you use on a daily basis that you find to be helpful?

Teux Deux, Asana, Evernote, Feedly, Instapaper, Google Calendar

What is your go-to caffeinated drink and where do you get it? Or do you have a caffeine alternative?

Green juice is my go-to, but, I won’t lie to you, I love a soy decaf carmel macchiato grande…cold.

Do you have a mantra that gets you through the day?

I’m happy, healthy, wealthy, and successful.

Repost: 3 Things to STOP DOING today to transform your non-profit

*This article original appeared on Huffington Post.com


I've worked in the social impact sector for my entire career. As much as I often believe that I should have gotten an MBA directly out of undergrad, that wasn't the path I ended up taking and over the last 12 years I have observed and learned a tremendous amount about effective management and leadership. At the time the 2012 Non-Profit Almanac was published there were 1,537,465 registered nonprofits in America. With such a wide variety of missions and focus it can be assumed that they vary widely in their degree of excellence and efficiency. That said, no matter if you are working in a new organization and building your first board, or have been around since the turn of the century and are working to ensure your relevancy, in a nonprofit there is always much to be done. And often times, it feels like too much.

If you've worked in a nonprofit in the past or currently work in one, you know that the way you manage your resources (people, goods and time) is a critical determinant of your success. How you prioritize dramatically impacts your fate. For most, the idea of adding more to do is overwhelming, which is why I believe that discontinuing just three things can change absolutely everything.

1. Don't just hire, on-board your staff.

Warren Buffett says to hire for integrity first and foremost hire for integrity, intelligence and energy. If you are able to hire someone who meets this criterion, the first 90 days are critical, not for them, but for your institution. As an employer, the first 90 days of your new employee's time with your company is an opportunity to provide three critical understandings: (1) What is my job? (2) Do I have the tools to do my job? and (3) Does my supervisor care about me? These critical questions explored by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in the game-changing book, First Break All the Rules, can be answered through an on-boarding and orientation program that extends beyond a slide show or single appointment into a program that includes meetings, multi-media materials and review to ensure information is being absorbed.

2. Stop raising money and start making friends.

Money is one of the most taboo subjects that we all must deal with on a daily basis. Asking for money causes most people to shrink in fear and step away. Too often fundraising (or nonprofit business development) is thought of as something that's about money. It's not. It's about relationships. When you learn about raising money for political campaigns, nonprofits or personal projects, one of the first things you learn is that you need to ask all the people you are closest to first. That is not because it's fun, but because people give to people. By focusing on engaging people interested in your work as people, i,e. by telling stories and sharing you work, you invite them to get more involved and to ultimately prompt the question "how can I help?" If you're struggling to raise funds, pause and ask yourself whether you've really developed relationships or just emails in a spreadsheet.

3. Just say no.

Whenever I walk into a nonprofit and see offices covered in paper and cardboard boxes stacked to the ceiling, not only am I immediately concerned about its knowledge management systems (or lack thereof), I am also concerned about its level of efficiency. Working smarter, not harder, is a foreign concept to many of us because it's not something that is easy to see. If someone is working until 8:00 p.m. every day, we assume they are working hard when, in fact, they may simply be inefficient. If your organization consistently feels that it's merely churning its wheels, or staff is exhausted, it is time to pause and assess. Before taking on any new initiatives it is valuable to check in on agency capacity and make honest and sometimes challenging decisions. The ability to say "no" can save you from years of exhaustion. Take a moment to assess. Be brave and speak up. Remember, as my father taught me when I was a kid, its quality over quantity that counts.

 Follow Simone N. Sneed on Twitter: www.twitter.com/catchbrilliance

Press Release: Thirty-two Professionals Selected for Inaugural IGNITE Fellowship for Women of Color in the Social Sector

July 29, 2013

The Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA) at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service is pleased to announce the 32 members of the inaugural IGNITE Fellowship for Women of Color in the Social Sector, a nine-month program enabling them to strengthen their leadership and management skills.

Offered with support from the American Express Foundation, IGNITE offers a diverse group of mid-career women directing nonprofit programs and organizations across the United States exposure to best practices, processes for building personal and organizational leadership, and opportunities to build and strengthen core management capacities.

American Express Foundation President Timothy J. McClimon said, “We are thrilled to support this extraordinary group of women working on critically important social issues who are poised to not only deepen their organizations’ impact, but strengthen the leadership of the sector as a whole.”

The Fellowship begins with a leadership institute in New York City from August 1-6, which includes a welcome reception in the NYU President’s Penthouse, a luncheon with top nonprofit leaders, and robust leadership and management sessions over four days. Over the ensuing nine months, Fellows will participate in peer mentoring and webinars to sharpen their leadership skills with the support of cohort members and Fellowship managers.

RCLA Executive Director Bethany Godsoe said, “These women are advancing justice initiatives in game-changing ways across the nation. We are excited about giving them a chance to reflect, learn and apply best practices, and build a national network they can call on for ideas and support as they undertake ambitious change agendas.”

To learn more about the IGNITE fellowship, please visit: http://bit.ly/17VL9fB

2013 IGNITE Fellows:

Alethea Simon, Vice President of Programs and Policy, Greenhope Services for Women, New York, NY Ayeola Kinlaw, Director and Engagement Manager, Center for Public Research and Leadership, New York, NY Elizabeth Clay Roy, Chief Strategy Officer, Phipps Community Development Corporation, Boston, MA Erica Hamilton, Vice President and Executive Director, City Year, New York, NY Erika Davies, Director of Membership & Development, Association of Black Foundation Executives, New York, NY Gaylon Alcaraz, Executive Director, Chicago Abortion Fund, Chicago, IL Iliana Estevez, Federal Programs Manager, Hispanic Scholarship Fund Institute, Washington, DC Imelba Rodriguez, Senior Program Director, Bridge Street Development Corporation, Brooklyn, NY Inez Gonzalez, Executive Vice President, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Pasadena, CA Jennise Hall, Director of Finance, Turning Point, Brooklyn, NY Jovian Zayne Irvin, Managing Director for Regional Talent Recruitment and Strategy, Teach For America, New York, NY Joy Messinger, Deputy Director, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Chicago, IL Juhu Thukral, Director of Law and Advocacy, The Opportunity Agenda, New York, NY Kia Chatmon, Development Officer, National Organization of Concerned Black Men, Washington, DC Krystal Portalatin, Co-Director, FIERCE, New York, NY Margarita Guzman, Program Director, Day One, New York, NY Meredith Freeman, Program Director, Fair Food Network, Ann Arbor, MI Monique Miles, Deputy Director, The Aspen Institute, Washington, DC Nathalie de Los Angeles Hodge, Program Director for the NYCHA Resident Training Academy, Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, Brooklyn, NY Nicole Oglesby, Project Director, IUPUI Community Learning Network, Indianapolis, IN Pamela Saelieb, Advisory Services Consultant, Taproot Foundation, Los Angeles, CA Parisa Norouzi, Executive Director, Empower DC, Washington, DC Rachelle Olden, National Director for the Roosevelt Institute Pipeline, Roosevelt Institute, New York, NY Ramatu Bangura, Program Director, Sauti Yetu Center for African Women, Bronx, NY Raquel Lynch, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Crisis Assistance Ministry, Charlotte, NC Rosita Choy, Director of Operations, National CAPACD, Washington, DC Shreya Malena-Sannon, Program Director, Sadie Nash Leadership Project, Brooklyn, NY Simone N. Sneed, Director of Development and External Affairs, Inwood House, New York, NY Sindy Benavides, Director of Civic Engagement and Community Mobilization, League of United Latin American Citizens, Washington, DC Tameeza Alibhai, Policy Manager, AKDN, AKF-Afghanistan, Washington, DC Tiffany McQueen, Director of Educational Programs, LINK Unlimited, Chicago, IL Tonya Davis-Taylor, Program Director, Palladia Inc., New York, NY

NYU Wagner’s Research Center for Leadership in Action conducts breakthrough research on leadership and offers customized leadership development and capacity-building programs. IGNITE is a program of RCLA’s People of Color Leadership Network, which aims to strengthen communities of color by supporting leadership by and for people of color. Learn more atwagner.nyu.edu/leadership.

American Express: Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow One of American Express' three platforms for its philanthropy is Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow. Under this giving initiative, which recognizes the significance of strong leadership in the nonprofit and social sectors, American Express is making grants focused on training high potential emerging leaders to tackle important issues in the 21st century. More than 10,000 emerging nonprofit and social sector leaders worldwide have benefitted from American Express leadership programs. Launched in 2008, the American Express Leadership Academy addresses the growing deficit of leadership talent in the nonprofit sector. The Academy brings together emerging leaders from a diverse set of nonprofit, social sector and nongovernmental organizations.

About American Express American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more atamericanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, foursquare.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/companies/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress. Key links to products and services: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, business travel, and corporate card.

This Press Release is in the following Topics: NYUToday-featureRobert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Press Contact: Robert Polner | (212) 998-2337

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