Daphne Logan is committed to supporting the people who staff nonprofit organizations. An authentic leader in the world of nonprofit human resources, Daphne is a current board member and former Board Chair of the 501(c) Agencies Trust. She currently serves as Senior Vice President of People and Culture at Start Early—a Chicago-based nonprofit that is a champion for quality early learning and care focused on closing the opportunity gap for the youngest learners. She previously held the role of Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Feeding America, the country’s largest hunger-relief nonprofit.
Logan first joined the Trust board in 2008 and was elected as board chair in 2017. After taking a brief hiatus, Daphne now returns to the Trust board to continue the work of helping nonprofits reduce their unemployment insurance costs.
Here’s how she got here:
How did you first get into working in HR?
“It wasn’t planned. When I graduated from Northwestern, I started in retail management at Sears, which at that point was the number one retailer in the country. They had an excellent national training program, and that’s where I learned the many facets of retail sales and management. My first store manager and mentor asked, ‘What do you think about human resources? I see that as a potential career path for you.’ I had never really thought about it, but I think it remained in the back of my mind. From there, I went to another retailer, then executive search and next joined my first nonprofit as an HR generalist.”
Why did you gravitate towards working with nonprofits?
“The reason that nonprofits really spoke to me was that I could truly believe in a purposeful mission and it wasn’t only about shareholder returns or the consumer. Even though HR isn’t direct service to clients, we support staff, and I wanted to in some way contribute to the improvement of our society at large.”
What’s your favorite part of working in HR?
“I really get jazzed and energized about supporting staff, and the investment in people on all levels—whether it be their professional development, or whether it be on the benefit side to make sure that we’re taking care of the individual as well as their families. You can’t successfully execute the organizational strategy without people and making sure that they have growth opportunities. Not that they’re going to stay with the organization forever—because who does that anymore—but they should feel like they have personally developed during their tenure.
Equally critical is ensuring that the organization has an inclusive culture and creates a sense of belonging. Diversity of thought leads to a more relevant and high performing organization.”
What’s it been like serving on the 501(c) Agencies Trust board?
“I served on various committees before becoming board chair and was frankly honored that I was asked to serve as board chair. The work the organization does is complex, and I had a learning curve to get up to speed.
My role on the board is what you would expect: making sure member organizations are supported and trying to increase the number of members that utilize our services. A lot of nonprofits don’t realize the potential savings of self-insuring, nor do they know about all the other benefits that accompany membership. At the end of the day, Trust membership helps nonprofits put coveted dollars saved back into their programs.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lia Tabackman is a freelance journalist, copywriter, and social media strategist based in Richmond, Virginia. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, CBS 6 News, the Los Angeles Times, and Arlington Magazine, among others. She writes weekly nonprofit-specific content for 501c.com.