FCS Careers: Nonprofit Association Professional

By Ashburn, Rhonda Paul | Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, Fall 2010 | Go to article overview

FCS Careers: Nonprofit Association Professional


Ashburn, Rhonda Paul, Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences


Rhonda Paul Ashburn completed her undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University in home economics education and community services. Following graduation, she moved to Washington, DC to work for Congressman Wes Watkins. Later, she accepted a position at the national headquarters of Future Homemakers of America (FH A/HERO). (The name of the organization changed in 1999 to Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).) As a career and technical (CTE) student organization, FCCLA functions as an integral part of the FCS education curriculum and operates within the school systems. It provides opportunities for active student participation at local, state, and national levels.

During over 23 years on the FCCLA national staff, Rhonda had many opportunities to apply both her educational background in family and consumer sciences (FCS) and Georgetown University's Nonprofit Executive Management Certificate Program. Her career involved creation and implementation of various programs, youth leadership training, meeting activities, and development work that focused on individuals, families, and communities. From overseeing the Financial Fitness Peer Education Program, which helped youth learn how to make, save, and spend their money wisely, to helping create the STOP the Violence-Students Taking On Prevention Peer Education Program, to working with national officers, her role changed and grew in responsibilities. She moved from a coordinator level to a Program Manager, Director of Programs, and Director of Development, later titled Director of Fundraising and Financial Development.

Serving as a fundraising professional for FCCLA, Rhonda led organizational efforts with various stakeholders to create mutually-beneficial partnerships. After creating the first-ever organizational development plan, she had a road map outlining strategies for working with various sectors including corporations, nonprofits/foundations, government agencies, and individuals. She attributes the program knowledge and background in FCS as instrumental and necessary for her to explain and "sell" FCCLA to potential partners. Daily, she used FCS skills in her work as she focused on creating and cultivating relationships that would lead to financial or other support for the organization. …

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