Victoria MacapagalIMG_0203


Title – Office Administrator

Organization/Agency – Mothers Against Drunk Driving, New Mexico State Office

Hometown – All over the world – seriously

Why did you choose to work in the nonprofit field?   I never imagined myself working in the nonprofit field. I certainly never expected to work for an organization quite like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. I’d like to think that the people I’ve met in this field and had the opportunity to work with have helped me solidify the “why”. It is an extraordinary opportunity and such an amazing experience that I hope to keep growing with.

What inspires you about your work?   My inspiration comes from the victims and their families. They have the strength to come back from unexpected tragedies and make a difference in our community. They have the courage to teach others, who have not experienced the heartache, to prevent drunk driving by sharing their stories. And they have the compassion to try and forgive the horrible circumstances they have endured.

What impact does your nonprofit have in the community?   Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s mission is to eliminate drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime, and prevent underage drinking. We work every day to raise awareness, planning events in victims’ services, running fundraisers like Walk Like MADD, and even putting on presentations of prevention programs. We also have volunteers showing support to our officers at checkpoint locations. As a nonprofit organization, we impact our community by showing the support for those in need and in return that support reaches out to others, who may not even know about us.

Why do you feel it’s important for young people to work in social profit professions?   I think it’s an exceptional experience to learn what it takes to make a new change in our community. Especially with an organization like MADD, I feel as though we lead by example for the next generation. As a young person in a social profit profession, we are the role models to someone or a group of people no matter the age because we are constantly watched. I know I’m always watched by my family, friends, and anyone I cross paths with. This gives the opportunity to showcase our passion for change.

How do you avoid burn out and where do you get support?   Every day we face new challenges and the way I avoid burning out is to turn that challenge into a learning/interactive experience for myself, and anyone who wants to participate.  The team I work with shows great strength and great personality, so it’s almost impossible to burn out.  But in the event that I do get overwhelmed, I know a few of them know me well enough to distract me or put a smile on my face. However, my advice on avoiding burn out is to do something that you really enjoy and something that really helps you gather your thoughts. Find the path that reassures why you are doing what you’re doing or truly shows who you are.


Juaquin A. Moya

Title – Executive Director

Organization/Agency – Horizons Albuquerque

Hometown – Albuquerque, NM

Education – BA, Wesleyan University

Why did you choose to work in the nonprofit sector?  Prior to my work in the nonprofit field, I created and directed the college counseling program at Bosque School.  During my ten year tenure, 100% of the students I counseled went to college and 75% matriculated to colleges out of state.  I believe education is the key to improving child well-being and our state’s economy.   My desire for a new professional challenge led me to the nonprofit sector.  I want to utilize my knowledge, both professional and personal, to increase access to education for those with limited resources.

Why did you pick the cause you’re currently a part of?  When did you know you wanted to do this work?  I was the first in my family to leave the state and graduate from college.  A bit of serendipity and a lot of important role models, like my high school college counselor, Jan Randall, helped me access higher education, and I know it was my time away from home that allowed me to find my own voice and gave me a better understanding of and a better appreciation for New Mexico.  In my undergraduate years, I imagined starting a non-profit that would improve access to education and equity.  My background in both the public and private arena, as well as my passion for bringing the community together made the Horizons model an ideal fit.  I was drawn to Horizons because it is a collaboration between independent and public schools; focuses on high quality academic instruction and student development; has a nutrition and health component, as well as provides breakfast, lunch, and a snack; and honors dedicated teachers, mentors younger teachers, and nurtures positive parent involvement.  Horizons also requires swim lessons for each Horizons student; I swam competitively in college and intrinsically understand the value this life long sport has in making a difference in a young person’s life.

What inspires you about your work?   I can personally connect with the mission of Horizons.  Horizons is a six-week summer academic enrichment program that seeks to address the achievement gap and summer learning loss for public school students from low income families that qualify under the federal income guidelines for free and reduced lunch.  The program also offers additional Saturday and after school enrichment opportunities throughout the school year. Two thirds of the students accepted into the program are at or below grade level upon entering and research has shown an average increase of two to three months in academic skills, especially reading and math.   Those students who are above grade level upon entering serve as role models and motivate their peers to achieve more.  The program blends academics with arts, sports, and cultural enrichment as well as confidence-building activities, particularly swimming.  The cumulative gain in skills is truly transformative, narrowing both the achievement and the life opportunity gaps that otherwise undermine success for low-income children.

What impact does your nonprofit have in the community?   Horizons Student Enrichment Programs have addressed the achievement gap for more than forty years by imbuing a diverse population of economically disadvantaged children with a love of learning and the academic and social skills essential to becoming responsible, contributing citizens. Horizons’ hands-on approach to learning engages students. Starting summer 2014, Horizons Albuquerque and Bosque School will welcome fifty students entering second, third, and fourth grade.  The program will add a grade level each subsequent year until the program serves kindergarten to twelfth grade students.  Once a student is enrolled in Horizons, s/he may return each year without reapplying, provided they are meeting program requirements.  Horizons Albuquerque’s goals for 2014-2015:

  • Prevent decline in students’ school performance
  • Improve students’ school attendance
  • Improve students’ social and interpersonal skills
  • Raise students’ educational expectations and aspirations
  • Encourage parents to become involved in their child’s education and activities
  • Build self-esteem, resourcefulness, and sound judgment

What is your favorite part of our community?   I am from New Mexico and my family has been here since 1694.  While I have lived in Connecticut, California, and Spain, I feel a sincere connection to this land; New Mexico is where I call home.  The amount of need in our community is huge, but I don’t see that as a negative; instead, I see it as an opportunity to contribute.

What do you like best about being a young professional in New Mexico?   There are many opportunities for young professionals here and I find the community very welcoming.  I like the opportunity to make a large impact that is sustainable; New Mexico is primed and the needs are vast, which make it the perfect environment for a young professional to grow.  The talent in central New Mexico is inspiring and I have found many valuable mentors here.



One of the panels at this year’s New Mexico Association of Grantmakers Conference covered the topic of next generation leadership. Questions ranged from how we define next generation leadership, to what lessons can we learn from the previous generation, to what challenges/opportunities does the next generation face? Panelists included Sarah Ghiorse of NewMexicoWomen.Org, Chad Jones of Community Investment Network and (yours truly) Robert Nelson of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN). Adam Rubel of the Kindle Project moderated the discussion.

This was not a traditional panel where panelists sit in front of an audience answering questions. Instead, all the panelists sat with the audience at separate tables and moderated discussions at their tables. After each table discussion, each panelist gave their views on questions posed to the tables and then were asked to field questions from other panelists and audience members.

Three things I took away from the panel were:

1. Create more intergenerational dialogue
It was interesting to hear people identify their generation and discuss different characteristics. Some of the conversation covered dispelling stereotypes that millenials face in the work place such as laziness and entitlement. Another part covered attitudes towards community change, of which, millenials seem more optimistic in creating community change, whereas some in generation X seem disillusioned with the barriers to create lasting change (big thanks to Sarah Ghiorse for helping with this part of the conversation). I found this point to be a good lesson in intergenerational dialogue because it opened up a larger discussion in how we develop community conversations about larger problems in communities (ie: poverty, inequality, homelessness, access to education, social justice). Talking and learning from others’ experiences in community work can help the next generation solve these problems (or at least put a sizable dent in them).

2. Be supportive of next generation leaders
Another part of the discussion covered how do we teach the next generation (beyond millenials) the importance of learning from the past – such as teaching classical music and the importance of environment and social location. One of the participants noted that we must create the support systems to not only invite young people to community work, but to teach how to build organizations from the ground up, teaching leadership skills along the way to a sustainable organization. Others pointed to how we attract talent to the social sector from increasing salaries to dispelling the overhead myth in nonprofit.

3. Caucus
Thanks to Chad Jones I now know what caucus means. It’s an important action in creating discussions about diversity and difference. And it goes back to the first take-away – create more discussion because the more you learn about others, the more you learn about yourself and your role in helping solve community issues.

Catherine Heyne2012_8_24 Golf Tournment ng 010

Executive Assistant & Grant Writer

Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity 

Hometown – Rochester, MN

Education – BA Anthropology/Archaeology,
MS Biological Sciences/Ecology 

*Note that Catherine is much more accustomed to being behind the camera, as is evidenced in this rare shot of her at the GAHH Golf Tournament.

Why did you choose to work in the nonprofit sector?   I have always wanted my skills to contribute something useful, and thought this was best achieved by living sustainably, helping others, and working in support of an environmental or human cause.

What inspires you about your work?   I deeply believe that by assisting others, society as a whole benefits. The work seems slow going, in that a small nonprofit can only do so much so fast; nonetheless, my heart sores every time a family receives the keys to their new home. It is always inspiring to see firsthand the difference it makes in a family’s life to have a stable, safe home and neighbors they know and trust. The diversity from day-to-day also can’t be beat. I enjoy being a generalist at my current position. In a work capacity, I do everything from answering phones and writing letters to managing the donor database, creating budgets, writing grants, and helping with events. My position also requires contact with the public, board, families, volunteers, and vendors, interactions through which I always learn something new.

What impact does your nonprofit have in the community?   Locally, GAHH builds homes for low-income families (30-60% of Albuquerque median income) that have a stable income, but do not earn enough to secure a conventional loan. To date, GAHH has built 170 homes in the greater Albuquerque area, and is ready to begin a 7-home project. GAHH actually finances the purchase with a 0% interest loan. Through our program, families gain stable housing and safe, energy efficient homes. The homes we build are typically in-fill construction with houses being built on adjacent lots. The families that qualify for a home are required to work a total of 500 hours on their home and those of their neighbors. Partner Families are also required to take a homeowners class and a financial budgeting workshop. GAHH is currently working on expanding class offerings to impart additional life skills such as creating a resume, will writing, credit counseling, and saving for retirement for not only Partner Families, but the public at-large.

Through hands on experience in construction, Partner Families learn basic maintenance skills and get to know their fellow Habitat neighbors, as well as interact with the volunteers who help at the build site. GAHH homes are well-built and preserve or help raise land values in the neighborhood; Partner Families are proud of their homes and actively maintain them. With affordable payments (not exceeding 30% of a homeowners income), the families are able to save for the future.

100_3683Why are you a member of YNPN?   Being fairly focused and inexperienced with locally available nonprofit programs, I decided that I needed to meet other like-minded people for networking, learning about what other groups in the area are doing for the community, and socializing. An added benefit is that every meeting has been at an establishment where I’ve never been before.

How do you fit the definition of a Young Nonprofit Professional?   I feel that I fit the definition of YNPN in that I’ve worked in the nonprofit business sector for only a little more than 3 years. Before that I was hiking the countryside.

Why do you feel it’s important for young people to work in social profit professions?   I think that it is important that everyone works in a nonprofit setting at some time in their life. It is not for everyone–making a lot of money definitely can’t be a personal goal–but you become creative with little resources, meet great people, and can better appreciate what you do have.

How do you avoid burn-out and where do you get support?   As with any field, you have to concentrate on the good, have a life outside of work, and be able to connect with peers.

Who do you consider a mentor and how did s/he help you?  Who have you connected with in the past that has been a wonderful partner/resource?   My first amazing mentor was my undergraduate advisor, Dr Hastorf. She worked incredibly hard, was extremely passionate about every aspect of what she did (family, work, leisure), and showed me how diligence and a positive attitude can bring you where you want to go. She was especially generous with resources and her excitement was contagious. As a very shy and unconfident individual, I was motivated to persevere as she had complete conviction that I could come up with my own successful solutions to any problem after showing me how to define the necessary resources.

What is your favorite part of our community?   I really relish the diversity of the Albuquerque community and the activities available, without the city size being too overwhelming large (although we could do a much better job w/sprawl and incorporating the natural environment/resources into development). However, if Albuquerque were not built in the high desert/grassland, I would probably not be here.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?   I had a pet squirrel.


Gabrielle Marie UballezGabrielleUballez

Title – Deputy Director & Visual Arts Program Director

Organization/Agency – Working Classroom, Inc.

Hometown – Albuquerque, NM

Education – BA, Pomona College, Art & Art History

Why did you choose to work int he nonprofit field?   My mom and dad instilled in me a desire to give back to our community and to work with others to make a positive impact. It also happens to be a very exciting time to work in the nonprofit sector – there are so many brilliant and visionary young minds entering the field who value collaborative works and experimentation.

Why did you pick the cause you are currently a part of?  When did you know that you wanted to do this work?   I am passionate about the Arts and educational equity. Since I was a young child my mom made art and creativity the center of my education. She was also very proactive in making sure we got the best education possible through a combination of public school education and afterschool programs. One of those programs was Working Classroom, yes, that’s right, the place where I currently work. Working Classroom gave me the opportunity to work with nationally acclaimed artists, it also gave me the chance to work on projects that addressed difficult social justice issues that ranged from predatory lending to immigration reform. Working Classroom reinforced and nurtured my passion for the arts and instilled in me a commitment to social action. It also gave me the ambition and support to attend a competitive, out-of-state, college. And although three years ago I had a dream job at The Studio Museum in Harlem, I don’t for a second regret returning to my hometown to mentor and advocate for our students and help create a place for art in all of our everyday lives.

What inspires you about your work?   I am inspired by seeing our students become: 1) more confident in their creativity; 2) more curious and dedicated to making an impact on our world; 3) and more ambitious about what they plan to achieve in life.

working classroom 2000

Gabrielle as a 13-year old student making art at Working Classroom

What impact does your nonprofit have in the community?   Beyond giving students the skills and confidence to become artists, active citizens and attend college, our organization makes original art that sparks awareness and provides a new lens through which audiences can explore human rights and social justice issues. Art has the power to shed light on current events and to be critical without being didactic or contentious. Art open up a space for dialogue and thinking about societal problems in innovative ways.

How will your career impact New Mexico and the social profit sector?   I would love to see more artistic and creative collaborations between non-art social profits and artists. I’m here to help build that bridge.

Why are you a member of YNPN?   There is so much to learn from my peers and YNPN is a genuine group of brilliant, compassionate and generous individuals.

How do you avoid burnout and where do you get support?  I feel blessed to have a husband who is also a public servant- who’s always willing to help us at Working Classroom but who also pulls me away on the weekends to take our dogs for a long walk, visit a museum or go antique shopping. I also have fabulous brother, lovely parents and a loyal best friend.

Who would you consider a mentor and how did s/he help you?  Who have you connected with in the past that has been a wonderful partner/resource?  

This is a shout-out to all of the brilliant women who have been tremendously inspirational to me.

At my first “real” job at the Studio Museum in Harlem I had three amazing mentors: Thelma Golden, Lea Green & Susan Wright. Thelma is a champion of artists and the visionary leader of a museum that is a living, breathing, growing organization. Lea was a great arts administrator who always encouraged me to attend national conferences and to be proactive about my professional development. Susan is an event planner extraordinaire who is always genuine, collected and has a wonderful sense of humor, she helped me to become a more level person in times that may seem like crisis.

working classroom students and gabrielle

Pride Parade 2012 with Working Classroom students.

I also need to give credit to Working Classroom’s Founder and Executive Director, Nan Elsasser, for being a support and mentor to me from the time I was a shy 11-year old student in her theater games workshop, to when I was a confused 17-year old applying to colleges, to today as my boss and mentor.

I, of course, also consider my mom, an early childhood educator and entrepreneur with a commitment to education for underserved communities and my madrina (godmother), once a progressive hospital administrator in El Paso, Texas who is now a high school teacher, to be hugely influential in my life!

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?   I used to write a popular food blog, Gabriela’s Kitchen, which gave me the opportunity to meet the great Mexican chefs of New York City and to be mentored by a woman who I consider a fairy godmother and role model, chef and Mexican regional cuisine food expert, Zarela Martinez. Although I no longer update the blog, I still love entertaining and hope to host some dinner parties in the very new future.

Laura Kuechenmeister

Laura is the newest member of the YNPN Board. Congratulations, Laura! To learn more about our Board, click here.


Title – Development Specialist

Organization/Agency – Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails

Hometown – Marine Brat, so all over (Boston, MA if pressed to pick one)

Education – Master of Music, UNM; Bachelor of Music Performance, Boston University

Why did you choose to work in the nonprofit field?   After several years of working in for-profit at an indie bookstore, I realized that I wasn’t interested in performing as a classical musician full-time anymore.  About when the NMSO went bankrupt, I decided that I had the passion for classical music, and could develop the skill set to work to fix the problems that are causing orchestras around the country to get involved in quite a lot of conflict, or experience significant revenue generation issues.  After spending some time in for-profit marketing and events, I thought it was a good time to start to learn about nonprofit management and operations, so I switched!  In terms of community impact, indie bookstores are pretty aligned with nonprofits, so it wasn’t too hard of a shift in vision.

Why did you pick the cause you are currently a part of?   I actually was never a Girl Scout growing up. However, I was offered many opportunities to develop the same skills: independence, confidence, ambition, and leadership.  When a small nonprofit I was working at was forced to downsize, it was these skills that allowed me to move forward and find a new position quickly – and it is these skills that enable me to constantly learn and improve myself.  In Girl Scouts activities and curricula, I see girls learn to become self-sufficient, and learn to improve their futures through their own hard work.  Although I wasn’t expecting to become a Girl Scout, I can absolutely see the value of the program and its mission for young women in New Mexico, and I’m excited to help them build skills that I prize in myself.

What do you like best about being a young professional in Albuquerque?  I like that I get to meet so many diverse people. The title of “auditor” tends to have a negative connotation but New Mexican’s have a strong sense of community and support for fellow New Mexicans and this helps to overcome this stereotype and enables me to build strong professional relationships with my clients.

What inspires you about your work?   I love that on one day, I can work on a grant about youth mentoring, and on another I’m researching rural economic development or forestry management.  Girl Scouts has amazing potential for diversifying its funding, and I’m excited about each new project – and that I get to explain that yes, I do work for the Girl Scouts, and I am seriously calling your agency about an economic development grant.  We do that.

Why are you a member of YNPN?   I joined YNPN because I believe in the mission.  I believe that in order to create impact in New Mexico, we need to cultivate young leaders who can collaborate to address our community’s needs, and who can collaborate to do so.  Sometimes, nonprofits do not have the capacity to provide skill-building and mentorship to those new to the sector, and I see YNPN as a way to supplement this need.

How do you avoid burnout and where do you get support?   In the past few years, I’ve really embraced balance.  I still work long hours, and I’m incredibly busy – but I mix work with volunteerism, extremely long visits to the dog park, yoga, and gardening.  Building my social activities helps a lot – especially having friends in similar positions I can ask for advice, and who will identify with my challenges/struggles.

What’s your favorite part of our community?   I love Albuquerque’s diversity!  We have a seriously large arts community, an outdoors/fitness community, a local food movement, a million people who adore dogs, a Maker Faire, and so many wineries and breweries.  We even have trolley tours that take us to Breaking Bad locations – there are so many unique things happening in this town, and I love exploring it even more now that I’ve lived here seven years.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?   I have a twin sister. Fraternal, and she’s five inches taller, and has blue eyes.  Also, when I have writer’s block, I play a ton of Fiona Apple songs and sing along in my office.


Gabriela Gómez

Gabriela is the newest member of the YNPN Board. Congratulations, Gabi!
To learn more about our Board, click here.

Title – Director of First Impressions

Organization/Agency – Albuquerque Community Foundation

Hometown – Albuquerque, NM

Education – BA in Biological Anthropology & Spanish, UNM

ggomez 2_WEBWhy did you choose to work in the nonprofit field?   I feel as though I somewhat stumbled upon employment in the nonprofit field.  I still do not know what I want to be “when I grow up” or what it even means to be “grown-up”. I often joke that maybe I will know what it feels like to be grown-up once I am 80!  I know what interests me and what brings me satisfaction in work and in life, but I have struggled finding how those things come together to build a career.  I am not interested in just having a job, it is important for me to have a meaningful career whether it is in the nonprofit or the private sector.  I do believe that there is a place for every person on this earth and currently I am happy right where I am.

What inspires you about the work of Albuquerque Community Foundation (ACF)?   I am inspired by our donors and our nonprofit partners!  We have such an incredible and diverse network of giving individuals.  I enjoy getting to meet people from all sectors of life.  We are connected to the community in so many ways and every day is a little different here.

What impact does ACF have in the community?   Impact.  That word can be ambiguous for me at times.  I believe that a little bit can go a long way.  Even the smallest of interactions and kindnesses leave a mark.  The Foundation has been in discussion most recently about Impact Grant Making.   Money is being granted from endowment funds every year in various amounts between $1,000 to $10,000.  We would like to try to focus efforts on donations of $30K, $50K, $75K to an initiative, rather than mini grants spread out in various areas.  I understand that there are some projects that can go a long way with $75K, but I also like the idea that we can touch people on a larger spectrum with many smaller grants.

Why are you a member of YNPN?   I am member of YNPN because I like interacting with my peers for not only advice and guidance but also for support.  Most of us are trying to find our paths and some are closer than others, but we need to know that we are not alone in this endeavor!

What is your favorite part of the community you live and work in?   Let me preface this by saying I have never lived anywhere else.  My favorite thing about Albuquerque is that is it home.  Beyond that, I love the weather, pace, food, people, size, and cost of living.  I do not know where in this world I will end up, but Albuquerque will always be home.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?   I LOVE my alone time.  My role at the Foundation requires me to rely heavily on my people and customer service skills and I often find myself socially exhausted by the end of the day.  The best remedy for a long day is ME time.