Aria Finger. COO, DoSomething.org and President, TMI
Aria Finger was on a mission to prove her college classmates wrong- that working at a not-for-profit could be efficient, effective and world-changing. As Chief Operating Officer of DoSomething.org– a not-for-profit that empowers millions of people to take action around causes they care about- she does just that. And we couldn’t be more excited to interview her.
What does your job entail including what a typical day might be like?
My typical day is split between meeting with my team members on their priorities and meeting with potential and existing external partners.
I am so lucky because I have one of the best jobs in the world. I get to work with our campaigns team to create meaningful calls to action that activate millions of people; with our business development team to form strategic partnerships with companies that want to activate young people; and with our finance team to count the money! Just kidding! But on a serious note, I love working with the finance team because when you look at the expenses of an organization you can really see where their priorities are. I also work with our agency, TMI, to use DoSomething.org‘s expertise to help other brands and organizations activate the youth market.
Can you briefly describe your career path and how you got your meaningful job?
Another stroke of luck! I was an economics major in college and my stubborn self wanted to prove all of my classmates wrong – that working at a not-for-profit could be efficient, effective and world-changing. I stumbled across DoSomething.org and joined a small but mighty team of 6 passionate people headed up by Nancy Lublin. For the past 9 years, Nancy and I have worked to grow DoSomething.org into the largest organization for youth and social change in the US and Canada.
What’s the coolest part about your job and what’s the biggest challenge?
It is really incredible to work with a team that is so passionate about what we do. We get to dream up impactful campaigns and watch hundreds of thousands of our members get unbelievably excited and passionate in turn.
There are many challenges. Sometimes its getting folks to take a not-for-profit seriously as a tech company. Other times its looking at the problems in the world piling up and figuring out which cause to focus on.
What advice would you give to a job seeker looking for meaningful work?
I saw a great post last week about how meaningful work comes from doing a job well and knowing you have the skills to accomplish what you set out to do. I would encourage everyone to gain real skills that can be used across a variety of jobs/sectors. That way, when you finally land that dream job, you will succeed.
There are also a million ways to look for meaning – you don’t have to work at a not-for-profit. Someone who works at a big financial institution could lead the charge to teach millennials about how to save for their retirement and not get ripped off. This would have a massive impact on millions of people. We need good people everywhere.
What can you identify as the biggest opportunity in your sector right now?
Listening to millennials. We need to stop asking millennials to get the coffee and start giving them a seat at the table. They understand technology, know which vine celebrities to partner with and have great, new ideas about how to activate their peers. At DoSomething.org, we have a weekly innovation meeting and anyone can present a new idea – from our CEO and senior staff to our entry-level folks and even our high school interns.
We need to stop asking millennials to get the coffee and start giving them a seat at the table (Tweetable)
What’s your favourite interview question?
Something personal. One of my favourite things about DoSomething.org is that we get to know each other as people, not just as co-workers. I’ll start: At 6-feet tall I’m the shortest person in my family. And I love, love, love salted caramel brownies (hint. hint).
Like what Aria has to say- follow her @AriaIrene
A big thank you to @meganstrand for making this interview happen.
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