I think quality of life in a community is driven by the nonprofits and the services they can provide. They establish a value system to a community through their passion for ensuring that everybody in the community has a decent standard of living.
Karl Yena is a man with a bit of business experience. After landing at the foot of the Smoky Mountains as a child, he went on to graduate from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Industrial Management and an MBA from the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
His career took him to RJR Nabisco where for 33 years he worked on mergers with the likes of Del Monte, Nabisco, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. He also spent a great deal of his career designing and facilitating leadership programs for employees.
Upon retirement in 1998, Karl took those skills he had honed in the private sector and began volunteering his time helping non-profit organizations in his community.
“In my career, our company had a great focus on the community. We were the largest employer in the area and management-level employees were encouraged to get involved in the community,” said Karl. “When I retired I wanted to continue the work I had started.”
Karl now works annually with more than 100 nonprofits in North Carolina to provide on-going mentoring/coaching to Executive Directors and provides assistance to non-profits in education, health, municipalities, human services, churches, foundations, and civic organizations & associations in the areas of strategic planning; Board development, staff development training; mediator/facilitator; and human resources & governance policies.
“Quite honestly, the federal government started pulling back on funding and said let the states take care of delivering human services and grants to non-profits,” he said. “But states have struggled and as a result nonprofits got pretty astute and had to start doing what corporations do. They had to market themselves for fundraising purposes and run more like a business, but most of them don’t have the money or the means to get the staff needed to do it.”
Karl also serves on the board of eight local non-profits in his community and has won many awards for his dedication to helping non-profits thrive.
“I think quality of life in a community is driven by the nonprofits and the services they can provide. They establish a value system to a community through their passion for ensuring that everybody in the community has a decent standard of living.”
In his free time Karl is a big reader, topping 100 books a year and also loves tennis. His wife Sallie will be joining him on the cruise!