Morgan Epstein was raised in Greensboro, NC and made the move to Danville in 2011 to attend Averett University. While at Averett, Epstein fell in love with the revitalization of the River District and knew she would call Danville home after graduation.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Clinical and Counseling Psychology and Applied Behavior Analysis, Epstein joined AmeriCorps as a VISTA working at God’s Storehouse. Working at God’s Storehouse intrigued her enough to continue my career in the nonprofit world. Epstein was hired at The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region as its program officer, managing the grants and scholarships programs. Epstein is hoping to gain more insight into nonprofit work by seeking a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership through Northeastern University. She is also a recent graduate of Leadership Southside.

We sat down with Morgan to discuss what being a young professional means to her.

SM: What does professionalism mean to you?

ME: I look at professionalism as having a strong work ethic and valuing the means to be successful. Possessing accountability is a huge component of professionalism in my eyes. It is extremely important for someone to take responsibility for their actions. Being consistent and having kindness are also two factors that play into professionalism. Having consistency and accomplishing your goals, shows that you are committed to your job and the company or organization that you work for. Being dependable also shows others that you are reliable and can be trusted to meet deadlines. Having kindness is part of the ethical side of professionalism. Everyone should be treated with kindness regardless of their position, role, or status. In my eyes, those who are kind to one another and treat everyone with respect are more professional than those that are not.

SM: Who or what inspires you?

ME: As cliché as this may sound, the people that we as nonprofits in the community serve, inspire me. They inspire me to continue to do the work that I do, the very best I can. Hearing stories of individuals who are dealing with tragedies and how they continue to strive to be better inspire me. Those who strive to put food on the table for their children when they know they themselves won’t be eating inspire me. Those who are determined to make a better life for their family inspire me.  And those who wear a big bright smile while battling chemotherapy treatments, inspire me each and every day.

SM: What do you admire about your community?

ME: I admire the passion this community has. It has become very clear to me that there are quite a few go getters in this city. I love seeing the community get together and support one another. Working in the nonprofit world, I see first-hand passion and commitment in those that work in the nonprofits in my area. Operating a nonprofit is no easy task, however when you have a community that stands behind your mission and believes in the work that is being carried out, that makes it much easier. The excitement of the revitalization of the River District is extremely praise worthy. Seeing Downtown Danville emerge has been truly amazing. I remember when the River District was full of dilapidated, empty warehouses. I commend everyone who has helped the River District become what it is today.

SM: What do you like to do in your downtime?

ME: I like to spend time with my dog, Cooper, on the Riverwalk or just strolling through downtown.  I also enjoy spending time with family and friends. I love going to community events; whether that is the farmers market on Saturdays, fundraisers for the community, or enjoying a yoga class at Hot Asana, you will likely find me out and about in Danville. Most of my time is spent in the River District as that is where I live, work, and play. Playing tennis is also one of my favorite hobbies.

SM: What advice do you have for aspiring young professionals?

ME: Take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way. It is so easy to get involved in this community. There are numerous service organizations in the area that welcome newcomers with open arms. I have been fortunate enough to be given many opportunities in my professional career and by saying “yes” to them, I met different people in a variety of fields.

SM: Where do you see yourself in five years?

ME: I absolutely love what I am doing now in the nonprofit world. My goal is to have an executive leadership position in a nonprofit organization. Upon earning my master’s degree, I feel that my leadership skills, experience in the nonprofit sector, and relationship management skills will help me reach my future goals.

I absolutely love what I am doing now in the nonprofit world. I know that in the future my goal is to have an executive leadership position in a nonprofit organization. I am currently a graduate student at Northeastern University earning a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership and I feel that upon graduation, my leadership skills, experience in the nonprofit sector, and relationship management skills will help me reach my future goals.

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