Getting to Know...
Will Meinen, Quality Improvement Manager
Will joined the YES team last fall, and while he has yet to meet and interact with most staff in person due to the pandemic, he is excited to be part of the organization.
What brought/led you to YES?
I wasn’t all that familiar with the work of YES before joining, actually. I had moved back to Omaha from Chicago and was looking for new opportunities and saw the posting. I was excited about the idea of learning more about YES' work with homeless and at-risk youth and to work again with my friend, (YES Director of Development) Barb Farho, who I had the pleasure of working with previously at the United Way of the Midlands.
How long have you been with YES?
I started in September 2020, so I’ve been at YES for almost 6 months.
What did you know about YES before working here and what have you learned since you started that surprises you?
I honestly did not know all that much about YES. I was familiar with the overall mission, but the specifics of how we work with clients and the different services offered was new to me. I’m surprised and impressed by the continuum of care offered to youth and all the different programs and services we offer.
What is your professional/educational background?
I have a Master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and then I worked as a researcher for Omaha Public Schools, United Way of the Midlands and as a private consultant. I lived in Chicago for 7 years and worked as a researcher at DePaul and Loyola University as well. I’ve done a lot of program evaluation and measurement of outcomes in education and nonprofits.
Not only are you new to YES, but your position is also new. Tell me what that means to you? What kind of impact do you want to make for/with the organization?
Having a brand-new position allows me the freedom to create my own job which I find exciting. I hope to provide our amazing program and development staff the data and evaluation tools to better serve clients and expand our donor base.
You came on board during COVID-19 -- working remotely, not having met all of your co-workers in person, etc. How have you handled that? How has it impacted your work/role/goals?
Yeah, an all-digital on-boarding is tricky. I think it has slowed down my introductions and understanding of the organization to a degree, but I have done what I can to reach out for video chats, and the all-staff meetings and weekly check-ins have been super helpful. It will be nice when we can gather again in person and have more non-work conversations.
What do you do for fun? Hobbies? Interests?
I’ve been a comedic improviser (improvised and unscripted) for 10 years so I do that when I can. I play guitar, and I’m always challenging myself to learn new songs/genres (Youtube is the best). I like to read fiction and write short stories/micro-fiction. Other than that – I like to hang out with my dogs and partner, cook new stuff and take hikes!
What are you most excited about working at YES? What kind of impact do you see the organization continuing to make?
My goal is to make data less intimidating (if people find it anxiety provoking at all) and to make it a regular part of our practice as an organization.