Danielle lives in Minneapolis and works for MAP, a great and mighty resource for the nonprofit community in the Midwest. Danielle has years of experience in the nonprofit sector and specializes in project management and financial services. MAP is also OTA’s fiscal sponsor, and we are continuously grateful for their investment and support in our work – and in all of you.
Name: Danielle Gangelhoff
How can people connect with you?
Where do you live now? Where do you call home?
These days, I call the Twin Cities home. I have been living in various areas of the Cities since 2004. I made it pretty permanent in December 2014 when I bought my first house, so it looks like I will be staying for a while. Sioux Falls, where I grew up, still holds a major place in my heart, though, and I am fiercely supportive of my hometown. I cannot believe how far Sioux Falls has come in the last 5 years or so.
Give us a behind-the-scenes look at your average day.
Funny you ask that, because I am really trying to work on creating more routine in my life in an effort to force myself to complete undesirable tasks, like going to the gym. I tend to work basically the same hours during the weekdays, a 9-5 kind of thing. After work, it depends on the season. When the weather is nice, I am slightly fanatical about being outside. We only get a few great weather months in Minnesota and I don’t want to waste a single second indoors. I mostly work on my yard (it needs A LOT of work), go hiking, play tennis, canoe, walk with my puppy Turbo, or basically anything else that involves being outdoors. I recently started indoor rock climbing, so I look forward to trying that outdoors. During the colder months, I tend to do more cooking and crafts. I make a lot of meals from scratch, knit, organize, or binge-watch Netflix.
I am also on the Board of Directors and the Governance committee for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities (YNPN-TC), so you can find me at a meeting or one of our events at least one day a week. I love volunteering with this organization and could talk about it for hours. If anyone lives in, or plans to visit, the Twin Cities, you should definitely try to check out a YNPN-TC event.
What projects are you currently working on, both in your career as well as hobbies or passions?
In 2014, I wrote a business plan for and co-created a new program for MAP – Fiscal Sponsorship. MAP saw a need in the community for fiscal sponsorship. Fiscal sponsorship has been prevalent on the East and West coasts since the 1970s but hasn’t really gotten steam in the Midwest until recently. The region was in dire need of a large, established organization that offers fiscal sponsorship. We have a few organizations that offer it to a specific subsector of the community, such as artists, but no one that offered it to social innovators, collaborations and new projects in general. We officially launched the program January 2015, and the response has been remarkable. We knew there was a need but did not anticipate how much of a need. Developing this program has been fun and engaging, and I have learned a lot along the way. I look forward to seeing how it will look in a year from now.
What challenge in your life or work are you most interested in overcoming?
My nonprofit career has not followed a linear path. It has been more of a zig-zag – I have done everything from event planning to business development to finance. Because of that, I don’t know “what I want to be when I grow up.” The problem is that I have really enjoyed all of the jobs I have had, so I find it difficult to pick a route and run with it. I could really benefit from a professional mentor or a guidance program that offers an opportunity for renewal and reflection. I never give myself time to sit back and think about where I would like to go in my career because I am always focused on the projects and tasks that are more pressing in the short-term. I could benefit from the structure and “forced” reflection that a well-defined program has to offer.
If you could do any job, what would you do and why?
Travel food show host, without question. Basically, I want Anthony Bourdain’s job. I love traveling and I love trying new foods. When you travel to a new place, all of your senses experience something new: new tastes, sounds, smells, things to see, things to feel. The exhilaration of travel, for me, is surpassed by no other experience. Food offers a similar, although not identical, thrill to your senses. For me, food is one of the top ways to trigger memories. Since I love food and travel (and eating food while I travel), it seems like a perfect pairing for my dream career. And what better way to spur innovation in both your personal and professional life than experiencing a culture outside of your own?
What’s your desert island album/book/TV show/movie?
I get bored pretty easily so the thought of being stranded on a desert island, even with my favorite book or movie, sounds terrible. I would want something that really makes you think and offers a different perspective each time you read/watch it. Or X-Men.
Since you live in one of the OTA states:
• Why do you choose to live here? Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home. It might be a cheesy saying, but it is true. I have travelled pretty extensively in the last 10-15 years (although I wish it was even more – I can’t travel enough) and enjoy it every time, but am always happy to come back to the Twin Cities. Someday, I might want to live somewhere without winter, but for now, I am happy where I am at. My favorite thing about the Twin Cities is the amount of green space. There are beautiful, secluded places to hike right in the middle of the metro.
• What is the most beneficial aspect of living in the region when it comes to your career? We have a significant nonprofit community in the Twin Cities. From advocacy (Minnesota Council of Nonprofits) to networking and professional development (YNPN-TC) to capacity building (MAP for Nonprofits) and everything in between, there is an organization or structure in place to help you or your organization succeed. I cannot imagine living elsewhere while I am working in this sector.
• What’s one thing you would change about the OTA region? We need more regional collaboration. There are organizations and individuals all over the region that are doing extraordinary work, but it isn’t as visible as it could be. OTA is going a great job at highlighting innovation and creativity in the region, but we need to take what we read and use it to collaborate more region-wide, not just in our individual areas.
• What’s one thing that most people don’t know about the OTA region? That it’s cool! Even in 2016, people from outside the region sometimes have the idea that we are just a bunch of farmers sitting around and talking about the weather. The OTA region has so much innovation, culture and arts that are going unnoticed.
Where do think good ideas come from?
I think good ideas come from need. People recognize a need and think about how to address it, whether it is making something better that already exists, or creating something new.
What’s one current trend you think will change the world?
Removing toxic chemicals from our products and food. Get rid of it and we will all start to feel a lot better, have more energy, and be better versions of our selves.
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Be thoughtful about the things you worry about. You can’t fix everything or have the weight of the world on your shoulders alone.
Who is the most connected person in your life, and what personal characteristics make him or her so well-connected?
Probably Jamie Millard of Pollen Midwest. I am pretty sure she knows everyone. I can’t speak for her as to why, but I think she is so well connected because she believes in the importance of partnerships and working together.
Who is the most community-focused person in your life, and how do they impact their communities?
Not specifically a person, but a group. YNPN-TC. I know I already tooted their horn, but it is the most supportive, welcoming and inclusive community I have ever been a part of professionally. YNPN-TC creates a place for people to get free professional development, networking and volunteer experience and does so in a way that makes you really feel part of the process and the group.
At what intersection do you live your life?
Fun and Food.
What’s the best way to put inspiration into action?
That is the million dollar question, isn’t it? I think that is the hardest part of the creative process for everyone. I know that every time I go to a conference, session, presentation, etc., I leave with great ideas and inspiration. Then I go back to work and I do my job and out of mind go all my grand ideas and I never really remember to come back to them. The best way to put them in to action would be to do it right away, while the ideas are fresh. Employers should give their staff a paid day off for reflection, and possible action, after conferences and trainings. A lot could be gained from that.
Who do you hope to leave a legacy for?
The next generation of young nonprofit leaders.
Who’s one regional writer/artist/leader/entrepreneur we should pay attention to?
Carl Atiya Swanson. He is a local creator, performer, writer and artist. His title at his day job is Director of Movement Building (Springboard for the Arts), which I am pretty jealous of. He is also a theatermaker with Savage Umbrella, a company dedicated to creating new, relevant works of theater, and a former member of the Board of Directors for YNPN-TC. How he manages to do all of this and be a husband and father, I don’t know. He has a pretty interesting backstory, too, including growing up abroad in places like Egypt. Give him a follow at @catiyas.
What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken?
I am a very open and direct person. I love to give compliments, but I also am willing to give critique. Sometimes it is appreciated, and sometimes it isn’t. But it is something I value in myself and am willing to take the risk and be candid, even here in the land of Minnesota Nice.
What’s your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it?
Moving to South Korea to teach English for a year and basically ending up homeless and moving back 2 weeks later. I learned to always trust your instincts.