Jana Reed is incoming chief operating officer at Nonprofit Finance Fund, a national Community Development Financial Institution focused on racial equity. Reed will lead NFF’s Operations, People, and Culture. Previously, Jana was the COO at iMentor. Reed co-founded Ascend Learning, a network of charter schools in Brooklyn, NY. Early in her career, Reed worked for two Massachusetts governors. She is a member APIA Education Leaders and the Board of Trustees of Explore Schools, Inc.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in 2023?
I have spent over two decades in education nonprofits and have loved every minute of it! In 2023, I made a personal career change from youth mentoring at iMentor to community building through lending and financial services at Nonprofit Finance Fund. For me, change is a big and an important step in my exploration of ways to eliminate barriers for historically underrepresented and marginalized people to live choice-filled lives.
What advice would you give to someone starting off in your industry?
I am heartened that diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging has become part of so many workplaces. One thing that has been helpful to me is to remember that this work is a practice — it starts with a shared noble goal and then is built through individual and collective actions. Thinking about it in this way allows us more room for celebrating successes and accepting the failures that come along the way.
If you weren’t in your current career, what else would you be doing?
Oh, wow! I cannot imagine doing anything else! I suppose if I were not doing this, I would be traveling the world with a game of travel Scrabble in my bag, and serving on lots of nonprofit boards.