Professionalism in the Working World by Alnierys Venegas

YNPN Board of Directors Speak!

What does professionalism mean to you? How do individual personalities and communication styles play into this idea? What are your preferences?

The YNPN Chicago Board recently discussed professionalism and focused on these questions. You would think that it would be simple to define professionalism, but I found myself struggling to identify what it meant to me during the meeting.  I wondered, “am I professional? Can my YNPN peers see the professionalism in me?”

After much reflection, I offered a response, but wasn’t satisfied with the answer that I provided. Since then, I have modified and solidified my feelings on the matter.

The next time I’m asked “What does professionalism mean to you?” I will answer with confidence; it means the 3 C’s:

Cooperation – Having a team player attitude is key! I work as a Case Manager for a mental health agency that operates using a team model. I will admit that there are times I don’t feel like helping my teammate with a certain task but I acknowledge that it will better my organization and its functioning. Learning how to separate personal feelings to put the organization’s interest first is vital to having a positive attitude and being a team player.

Consideration – Think about how your actions affects others. As I mentioned, I work on a team. This means that communication is EXTREMELY important in getting our work done. If I receive a text, email, or phone call, I am mindful to respond immediately if not within a 48 hour time frame. I’m not always sure what my colleague may need, but, I want to respect them by acknowledging their request on time.

Compromise – Learn to disagree without being disagreeable. In the nonprofit world, there will constantly be a need to collaborate with others to achieve a desired goal. Even with that in mind, there will be times when you will not agree with every decision or comment your coworkers make. This will be the time when you listen and then demonstrate an understanding of their perspective before offering your concern. The key to developing a healthy middle-ground is to communicate your thoughts in a non-confrontational, objective manner that will allow others to be receptive to your feedback.

Defining professionalism can be elusive. What it means to me may be different to you. I’m challenging myself to uphold the 3 C’s in my professional and personal life. I want to ensure that I’m modeling a character of integrity, reliability, and professionalism that is respected by my peers. I challenge you to do the same!

Alnierys Venegas currently serves on YNPN Chicago’s Executive Board as a Programming Co-Chair. Alnierys  received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts – Media Studies from North Park University. She has developed her marketing, outreach, interpersonal communication, and leadership skills at social service agencies such as the YWCA, Red Cross of Greater Chicago, and currently, at Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare. She began her career at Trilogy as a Latino Services Coordinator which provided her the opportunity to oversee the development of their Latino Services Program. Alnierys is passionate about being a much needed leader and educator in the Latino community. Her interest lies in diversity, inclusion, and multicultural programming.

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2 Responses to Professionalism in the Working World by Alnierys Venegas

  1. Susie Kay says:

    As someone also with a background in the nonprofit world, I can only applaud your quest to define professionalism for yourself and colleagues. Taking the time to add extra value by taking on voluntary roles such as your role on YNPN certainly speaks of dedication and good practice, sure signs of personal professionalism. I like your three C’s – my own take on defining professionalism was the result of years of interacting with people at all levels. Creating my own list turned into a book as I wanted to share what I had learned about this very difficult and elusive subject. I hope you might find it useful.

  2. jhigdon5 says:

    Thank you for posting this. I am a young professional, albeit not in non-profit, and it is hard sometimes to discover what the professional world’s definition of professionalism is. Having this easy model will make it easier in the future for me to ensure that I am being as professional as possible.

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