Millennial leaders are rising strongly in the nonprofit sector, but like every generation, they lead imperfectly. In this episode, Katie interviews Ashley Sharp, the founder of Dwell with Dignity. Ashley shares why these young leaders are making admirable changes and why they don’t have it all figured out (yet). If you’re a young leader or your nonprofit is looking to recruit fresh talent, listen!
Next-gen leadership is fluid and flexible, whether it’s a flexible work schedule or the notion of collaborating with competitors. Where these millennial nonprofit leaders don’t bend is on values. Ashley even recommends that those entering the sector approach career opportunities with documented values framework. Knowing your worth and what you are and are not willing to negotiate to give you power.
It’s not uncommon for millennial leaders to report to a board of directors comprised of individuals twenty or thirty years older. While there is undoubtedly a little generational friction in those boardrooms, both ends of the age spectrum also can learn from each other. Millennial nonprofit leaders do not have it all figured out. Ashley highlights the need to slow down and delegate as two areas where young leaders can learn from their more senior counterparts.
Ashley Sharp has dedicated her career to public service. As the Executive Director of Dwell with Dignity, Ashley has helped the organization reach new heights, including being awarded the Best Place to Donate by D Magazine and attaining national recognition through their innovative Decade of Dignity dining series. She has also served Interfaith Family Services as the Chief Development Officer, was the Manager of Patron Relations at the Nasher Sculpture Center, and worked with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to her professional career, she currently serves on the Mayor’s Star Council as the Engage Dallas Chair, is a graduate of the inaugural class of the UT Austin Lyndon B. Johnson’s Women’s Campaign School, and is a Professor at the University Of Houston, a member of the KERA Community Advisory Board, and is a finalist in the United Way’s Social Innovation Accelerator. Ashley is a past president of the Business Council on the Art’s Leadership Arts Institute and has been part of the International Rescue Committee, Dallas Summer Musicals, and Junior League of Dallas.
She holds a BA in Arts Administration and an MPA in Public Affairs with a concentration in Nonprofit Management, both from the University of Texas at Dallas. Ashley lives in Grand Prairie with her husband and two children.