The Grow and Lead Organization Hosts the 14th Annual Nonprofit Conference in Marquette

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) — Laughter and conversation filled the Northern Center at Northern Michigan University on Thursday as attendees gathered for the 17th annual nonprofit Grow and Lead conference.

Grow and Lead is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping other UP organizations and CEO Amy Quinn said the event had several purposes.

“To provide inspiration, training, networking, and hopefully enable nonprofit leaders, staff, and volunteers to have just one day to be with each other and to also be rejuvenated in the work they do,” Quinn said.

The conference included breakout workshops, sessions, resources and a special guest. Keynote speaker Beth Kanter said she wants to help nonprofit employees and leaders find work-life balance.

She then asked, “If you can’t take care of yourself, how can you take care of a community?

“There’s a shift now to focus on work and give employees a life outside of work,” Kanter said. “It’s not about blundering at work or slacking off or anything that’s really important to replenish and refuel so they can better serve the community.”

While many organizations were back, a few nonprofits attended the conference for the first time. Sisu Dark Horse President Jovan Mercado said it has benefited him as a leader.

“I’ve learned that many of the challenges I face aren’t because I’m a bad leader, but because nonprofits are difficult,” Mercado said. “It is a difficult undertaking and to continue the mission, we must equip ourselves with the resources necessary to attack our specified missions.”

Organizers said nonprofits typically have limited resources, which can be a challenge when trying to accomplish big things. However, they point out that not taking time for yourself will only complicate things.

Aubrey L. Morgan