Introducing… Andrew Rosen, President of Angel Foundation and my 1st blog interview

Through all my networking over the last year (and I’ve done a LOT), the best part has been hearing peoples stories and how/when they decided to make nonprofit their career choice.

I’m going to honor these stories through blog interviews. Andrew Rosen at Angel Foundation is my first victim (I mean subject).

Rather than recap information you can find on the Angel Foundation website & his LinkedIn, I thought I’d cut/paste bits of his press release from January 2016 when he was announced as President.

“Angel Foundation’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Andrew Rosen as the nonprofit organization’s new President. Andrew is the former President of HousingLink, an innovative web-based non-profit that provides affordable housing information for the State of Minnesota. He has also recently served as Interim Executive Director for Social Venture Partners Minnesota…..

Andrew has significant non-profit consulting experience with clients such as The Network for Better Futures, Twin Cities RISE!, and the International School of Lausanne, Switzerland, where he recently spent four years living as an expatriate with his family. His for-profit career includes marketing leadership positions with Boston Scientific and business development roles in the first internet boom in San Francisco. He holds an MBA in Marketing from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and an MA in International Studies from U Penn. His undergraduate degree is from Tufts University in Boston.

Andrew is very involved in his community, serving on the boards of the Trust for Public Land, the International School of Lausanne, and the City of Lakes Waldorf School”

Super impressive and a bit intimidating, right?! (I mean Wharton, come on!!).  I was thrilled when he agreed to sit with me, share his story and talk about his passion for non-profit.  And, yes, this has been approved by the man himself:)


What motivated you to move into non-profit?

As I moved through school and life, there were 2 constant themes; wanting to own/run my own business and wanting the work I did to have meaning. I got really close to the meaning portion of the equation in my corporate life, but it was never quite enough.  But, I still wanted to be a part of a complex organization; from problem solving to accounting to strategy to outreach.  I’ve found that nonprofit IS a business, a people business.  These 2 themes stem from 2 life experiences.  1) becoming a parent and realizing that I needed to walk the walk, not just talk the talk on my values.   2) understanding that my life experience would have been significantly different if I had been born and raised 2 miles further east from my Golden Valley home and instead been born in North Minneapolis.  I’ve been remarkably lucky in life and simply want to share that good fortune.

Now that you are in role, why do you stay?

I love how Angel Foundation is intensely local. I can wear my Angel baseball hat and get stopped, almost daily, with stories of how we have helped families in crisis.  It’s so motivating to know that we are helping people when they are in challenging circumstances (helping low income adults with cancer with basic needs).  And, my favorite time of the summer is our summer camp program with the kids, Camp Angel. It’s a safe space for them to be kids, be surrounded by other kids in similar situations and relax/have fun.

What was the biggest surprise when you made the move?

Other than how long it took (more than a year to transition from corporate to nonprofit with a number of “runner ups” for Executive Director roles), it’s finding the balance between leading with my heart and leading with my business experience. It’s not either/or, it’s BOTH; both are critical for the success of our organization and people are motivated by different aspects of both.

What is your biggest challenge in role?

The philanthropic pressure to raise money.  So much of our revenue cycle feels out of my control.  Our goal is to build more earned revenue streams but until that time, I need to share our story with everyone I meet and ask for support (and money!).

What do you want people to know about you/your career shift into nonprofit?

I want people to know that business skills are incredibly valuable in our ability to deliver increased value/performance/quality and support of our clients. And that’s the end goal, to serve our clients well.

Any advice for people making this move? 

Network, network, network. Connections are key. Moving into nonprofit is a major career shift and there is a lot to learn!  Fit is critical and people need to be able to “see” you in a role.

Thank you Andrew for your time, your persistence, your insight and the work you do at Angel Foundation!