What is Faces of New Profit? It’s a spotlight on members of the New Profit community, why they do what they do, and who they are. This week, we talk to Kim Jackson Nielsen!
What motivated you to work at New Profit and/or in the social sector?
I started my career as a strategy consultant in the telecom field. While I loved the problem-solving aspect of my job, my heart wasn't in it. My manager would come to work everyday with so much excitement about the latest new cell phones, and I just didn't have that passion. My brief two-year stint in the for-profit field made me realize I really wanted to work somewhere where I felt my work was making a positive difference in our world. So, I decided I wanted to work in nonprofit consulting, and I eventually landed a job at Root Cause, a Boston-based nonprofit consulting firm. My role was the perfect blend of strategy and mission-oriented work and gave me a great orientation to the different types of challenges facing organizations working on a wide variety of social issues.
Through several education-focused projects at Root Cause, I made the decision that I wanted to focus on the field of education, because I believe education is the most powerful lever for change in our society. I simultaneously decided to get my MBA to build my foundation of knowledge of how organizations (of all kinds, but particularly nonprofit organizations) are managed. An Education Pioneers fellowship at DC Public Schools while I was in business school solidified my interest in education.
After graduating from business school, I was looking for an education-focused role that would allow me to use the skills I developed as a consultant. New Profit was the perfect fit.
What is your role at New Profit?
I am a manager on the Education Team, playing a role in investment selection, providing deal support to our grantees, and guiding the overall strategy and operations of our team.
What are a few things that are on your bucket list?
I've always wanted to travel to Australia, and I would love to be in the studio audience for an episode of Saturday Night Live. A recent addition to my bucket list is adopting a rescue dog (which my husband and I are actually considering doing in the next few months!)
What is your favorite movie?
I wish I could say something really academic or high-brow here, but honestly, I love Legally Blonde. I think it’s a great commentary on why it’s important never to underestimate someone’s ability or judge someone based on preconceived notions.
What is the one thing you think our world is missing today?
Empathy and compassion. I think we could all benefit from adopting a more empathetic mindset and making a stronger effort to see things from the perspective of others. If we all made it a priority to truly understand, respect, and demonstrate compassion toward one another, I believe our world would be safer, kinder, and more humane.