We are excited to announce that Amy Furman is the new Co-Chair of the City Year New York Alumni Board. Amy served with City Year New York for two years at MS 424 in the South Bronx. She joined the City Year New York Alumni Board in 2012 and co-chaired the Corps Support Committee before becoming the Co-Chair this year.
Amy currently works for the New York City Department of Small Business Services as the Director of Industrial Training. We asked Amy a few questions about her new role and our alumni boards work. Below are her responses.
City Year New York: As you know, at City Year we have a strong culture of values and idealism. Which value resonates the most with you and has "rippled" out to your life after City Year?
Amy Furman: Many of City Year’s values resonated with me and Ubuntu was always my favorite during my time of service. Post-City Year, however, the idea of committing to “a cause greater than self” resonates greatly with me and reaffirms my recent career choices working in local government. Right now, I think there’s no better position for me to be pursing and advancing solutions to civic challenges than the one I currently hold, developing workforce training programs for un- or under-employed New Yorkers.
CYNY: You spent two years with City Year New York in the South Bronx. What motivated you to continue serving and ultimately, join the Alumni Board after your service?
Amy: The importance of serving, supporting, and uplifting others was deeply instilled in me by my mother and younger sister as I was growing up. I applied for City Year after college, because in my mind, there was no other option but to continue connecting with others and providing whatever support I could. I was lucky enough to serve with some incredible peers and be mentored by some tremendous City Year staff members. Through these interactions, I became aware of my leadership qualities and strengths (and weaknesses!) and gained the confidence to translate these into a career path where I felt like I could further grow my impact – in City government. Joining the Alumni Board has been my way of “bridge building” for the current corps and hopefully, facilitating the type of support that will make their service year or career path a bit easier to navigate.
CYNY: What skills or experiences from your service years have you carried on to your following positions?
Amy: So many! So, so many! Most tangibly, I’ve used Q2Q’s and shared these with others for project planning, and I still use the leadership compass to guide my interactions with and expectations of my colleagues. Additionally, the ability to lead and motivate a diverse group of people and stakeholders is something I had ample opportunity to practice and hone at City Year, and it’s been invaluable to my career trajectory.
CYNY: How has staying connected with the Alumni Board benefitted your professional career?
Amy: I’ve appreciated the additional opportunities to lead events and teams – and also, to learn what it means to serve on a Board. I’ve gained a greater understanding and appreciation for the roles Boards play in the stewardship of non-profit organizations, and I expect my experience on the Alumni Board to inform future opportunities to be involved with philanthropic projects. Also, the City Year network is immense! I run into City Year alumni who have ended up in a wide variety of sectors and leadership roles – from a former teammate who is now a professional sommelier to two of my current co-workers at the Department of Small Business Services who I recently discovered are City Year alums.
CYNY: What is your vision for the Alumni Board in the next few years?
Amy: The many City Year Co-chairs and members that have come before me have done a great job establishing a foundation for this Board. We have some flagship events (18 Minute Networking, our Alumni and Friends Fundraiser, etc.) and a pretty solid base of engaged alumni living in the city. In the upcoming years, I’d like to see us become more focused and effective in our basic functions (engaging alumni, supporting the corps, and fundraising) by involving a more diverse pool of alumni (i.e. from other sites, past years, etc.) in these initiatives and adding some new events/projects to our repertoire. Above all, it’s my hope to foster a team-like camaraderie for the Board. Not only do I think this will help us accomplish more, but I don’t think we all have the opportunity to work day-to-day with co-workers as diverse, bold, civic-minded, and collaborative as the people City Year attracts. I would love to facilitate some of the same inspiration and support we all found in our City Year teams among the members of the Alumni Board.
CYNY: When a corps member graduates, they join a supportive network of thousands of idealistic individuals. How can alumni get involved and stay connected with City Year?
Amy: Come to our Alumni Board events! E-mail me!
Also, please join the City Year New York Alumni Facebook page – it’s for ALL City Year alumni currently living in New York City (or who want to stay updated on CYNY events) and we’ll always post news about our upcoming social, service, or fundraising events on this page.