Ain’t no Year Like a City Year for Jordan Feld
“At City Year, we know that every child can succeed, and that when students thrive, we all benefit.”
Meet our Awkward Networker #Networking4Good honoree:
Jordan Feld, Chair of City Year Philadelphia’s Associate Board!
Right now, approximately 30% of students won’t graduate high school on time with their peers in Philadelphia.
Jordan dedicates his time and talent to spreading the mission of City Year, which works to combat this sad statistic. Below, he teaches us about City Year, shares some of his stories, and explains how networking is a key component to his philanthropic success. And he has an awkward networking story that you um… won’t forget!
You know the format = 5 Questions + a plug for your charity… here we go!
1.) What is the organization and why is it important to the community and you personally?
City Year Philadelphia is an education nonprofit founded on the idea that we know that every child can succeed, and that when students thrive, we all benefit. If we assume this is true, it then becomes incumbent upon us to provide every student with the tools they need to realize their potential. City Year partners with schools to help bridge the gap between what their students need and what most urban schools are designed and resourced to provide.
City Year AmeriCorps Members provide research based student, classroom and school-wide support to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success. The zip code a child is born into should not dictate the level of support that is available to them.
I personally believe education is one of the greatest tools we have available to combat poverty and inequity.
Education was always highly valued in my family growing up and opportunities to enrich myself were plentiful; however, not all students have that same support structure in the schoolhouse or opportunities available to them. Right now, approximately 30% of students won’t graduate high school on time with their peers in Philadelphia. City Year is one way to help close that gap and I want to help support the incredible work of our corps in any way I can.
2.) How long have you been involved and what’s your role within the organization?
I began working with City Year’s Associate Board during the 2015/2016 academic year. The City Year Philadelphia Associate Board is a group of young professionals who advance the City Year mission – closing the education gap in Philadelphia – through ongoing advocacy, volunteerism, and financial support. I currently serve as the board chair which involves planning and running our board meetings, helping define the strategic goals of the board with City Year staff, and supporting our different committees on their individual projects and events.
3.) Who are you outside of City Year?
I work in pharmaceutical sales at Allergan where my title is Senior Clinical Sales Representative. I was born and raised in South Jersey but spent a few years living in the city after college at La Salle before settling back into suburb life [editor’s note: I lived with Jordan for a year at 12th and Sansom in 2009-2010. We had a Chinchilla named ‘Buddy’ and drank Dewers. It was a great year]. I enjoy cooking for friends or a good night of bar trivia. I’m a big Philly sports fan but I can officially die happy after Super Bowl LII, go birds.
4.) How do you use networking to further your organization’s mission and cause?
A key part of our board’s mission is advocacy and in my mind advocacy begins with awareness. If I’m not making people aware of City Year I’m certainly not fulfilling my duty to be an advocate. In professional networking settings, we rightly spend most of our time focused on advancing our career or finding people we can collaborate with or learn from to be better at our craft.
But our career is only one aspect of who we are.
These same events are a perfect opportunity to share other things you’re passionate about because they can deliver many of the same benefits. Something as simple as making a commitment to talk about City Year can be all it takes to spark someone’s interest and create a new champion. It also works both ways! I’ve met people at professional events that eventually turn in to City Year supporters and people at City Year events who turn out to be valuable professional contacts.
In the past, I’ve used my own personal network to recruit friends to events, secure raffle prizes like gym memberships and autographed footballs, and even help generate corporate sponsorships as the Awkward Networker can personally attest to [editor’s note: I think this is Jordan’s way to getting me to sponsor their next event – he’s a salesman at heart].
5.) The fun nugget: you’re most awkward networking experience.
After our annual Red Jacket Gala a couple years back I joined some of my fellow Associate Board members at the official after party. One of the perks of this event is that most of the Site Board is also in attendance and it gives younger professionals an opportunity to connect and network with more established senior leaders in Philadelphia.
When I encountered the first member of the site board, I confidently stuck-out my hand and introduced myself as the chair of the Associate Board and hit him with a “it’s great to meet you!” He responded with a slightly confused look and a “Right, of course, Jordan.” As he shook my hand, he made it abundantly clear to me and everyone else standing in the circle that this was not the first time he and I had met. He was nice enough to let me off the hook and we went on to have a great conversation but you better believe I was very red in the face.