In this blog, I interview Carolyn Naseer, co-founder of “My Change Agent,” which is serving non-profits and small businesses that normally don’t have access to this level of excellent strategic and operational management resources.
STAN: Could you tell me a little bit about “My Change Agent?” What is your business all about?
CAROLYN: My Change Agent is a management consulting firm. Our entire mission is to help solve problems for small businesses, nonprofits, and universities. Our teams work across a variety of divisions – everything from Human Resource operations to Public Health Administration, but most recently, our focus has been on supporting nonprofits on diversifying donor streams, building equity and inclusion into their HR policies, and creating business infrastructure.
STAN: I know in the past you’ve worked in academia, as well as in industry – everything from start-ups to large organizations like me (both of us at IBM). What motivated you to now strike out on your own?
CAROLYN: My Change Agent was launched in April 2018 and my business partner, Erin Spencer, and I joke that it was our “brain child”. We realized that we had an opportunity to really impact our communities through a model called a flash organization (also referred to as a “pop-up employer”). Basically, teams are assembled to work on projects, and then disband after a project is completed. We really believe in the power of collaboration and thought that if we could apply this model to organizations that don’t have access to big business resources, we could have a much larger impact (in many ways).
STAN: You are now offering this innovative Capacity Building Consortium. Can you tell me more about what this is?
CAROLYN: The Capacity Building Consortium is a membership-based model for nonprofits of any size and is designed to: 1.) create more efficient business processes; 2.) increase staff health and well being, and 3.) offer training and development opportunities. Examples of what members actively work on include: creating an action plan to diversify donor streams, a documented succession plan, a process for managing volunteers, and compliance with Human Resource regulations. Most importantly though, we are freeing up more time for to proactively serve their mission.
STAN: Why did you decide to offer this Capacity Building Consortium? Is it filling a particular niche or unaddressed need?
CAROLYN: Sound business infrastructure is necessary for any nonprofit to be sustainable. Over time, however, we saw there was a huge gap in affordable resources for nonprofits to continuously work on capacity building. The Capacity Building Consortium grew out of this need, and is a low-commitment, low-cost option. We enroll cohorts quarterly, membership is a month-to-month basis, and members walk away with tangible processes every month.
STAN: I also know you are quite an active person. What else are you involved in besides your “My Change Agent” business?
CAROLYN: I’m smiling as my community work is so meaningful to me personally! First, my business partner and I do a lot of philanthropy through our business. We donate time and resources to organizations who we strongly believe in their mission. In addition, I sit on multiple Boards, and am currently the President of the Triangle Society for Human Resource Management and also am on the Board of Directors for CommunityWorx (formerly PTA Thrift Shop in Carrboro, NC). In addition, I am an active volunteer for the American Red Cross and am trained in Disaster Relief Services as well as volunteer in their Services to the Armed Forces Division.
STAN: Thank you, Carolyn. I continue to enjoy our periodic lunches sharing about how our business lives and other pursuits are going. And I wish you and Erin the very best of success in this business venture!