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Meet Mandy Yoh of Chicago Leadership Alliance in The Loop

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mandy Yoh.

Mandy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m the executive director of the Chicago Leadership Alliance (CLA). I moved to Chicago six years ago, and it has been a great experience since day one. I fell in love with the city right away, and felt like it was home. I was lucky enough to land a job as the first employee at one of Chicago’s most prominent tech startups and from there I gained an appreciation for entrepreneurism and innovation.

I joined CLA two years ago as a member and was completely consumed by the altruistic people that made up the group. Not only did the dynamic of the organization speak to me, but the work we were doing to impact Chicago was one-of-a-kind. In the summer of 2017, CLA launched its GoCivic platform, and I knew I wanted to make the career switch to the nonprofit sector. That is when I officially took over as the first-ever executive director of the CLA, and I could not be happier with my current role.

Has it been a smooth road?
It seems many people have an idea that success means hockey stick growth, driven by a magic formula. In reality, success has peaks and valleys that alternate constantly. The definition of success can change at any moment. It’s hard to remind stakeholders that success is an ever-evolving definition, especially as we pivot, change goals and switch tactics to achieve it.

Struggles are hard but very necessary, as it’s the way in which find answers and new paths. They help shape our character and humble us. The biggest struggle for me is my focus on trying to make everything perfect. A number of the smartest, most successful and emotionally intelligent people I know have told me that you have to fail to learn.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Chicago Leadership Alliance story. Tell us more about the business.
The Chicago Leadership Alliance (CLA) is a community of young leaders, altruistically motivated to drive actionable change to make a better Chicago. We bring together Chicago’s most dedicated professionals from the private, nonprofit and public sectors in a passionate and consolidated effort to leverage activism in our communities and workplaces.

Our members work as a community to mobilize, collaborate and provide actionable solutions that ignite transformative impact within the city of Chicago.

Unlike most nonprofits, the CLA does not focus on one cause. Since our inception, we have pursued dozens of causes, organizations, projects, population segments and geographical areas in Chicago. We leverage innovation and technology to help bring solutions to the city that emphasize civic and community engagement, philanthropic impact and economic development.

One solution that ties each of these areas together is our GoCivic platform, which we launched in the summer of 2017. The platform did something that no one else was doing by providing a way for Chicagoans to connect with social impact opportunities, and to learn more about their local government to help become more involved in the community.

With the incredible adoption and impact our first version accumulated, we decided to move forward on developing the next iteration. The new platform will provide even more opportunities for Chicagoans to connect with volunteer opportunities, engage civically with their local government and provide a means for large and small businesses to become more involved in their communities. Moreover, the platform will launch with a mobile version as well, making it even easier for Chicagoans to give back and be engaged on-the-go.

How do you, personally, define success? What’s your criteria, the markers you’re looking out for, etc?
As I mentioned before, success is an ever-evolving definition. Before anything can be deemed successful, it must have a goal in place that acts as the catalyst to drive the motion. Throughout my journey, goals have been large and small, yet, each of them was equally important for the path towards success.

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