On Our Minds

Working with so many organizations across multiple issue areas gives us a unique view into what’s happening in the social sector. This is where we share our insights and ruminations.
Collage of On-Ramps employees
Looking back, looking forward

In celebration of the New Year, we asked members of our team to share their reflections on the year prior and what they’re most looking forward to in the days ahead. We call these reflections “Looking back, looking forward.” In light of a particularly challenging year, we wanted to share our observations about 2020 and hopes for 2021 with you.

“Throughout the challenges of this year, I’ve seen my colleagues step up to support each other, clients, and candidates. Being physically apart has been one of the most challenging parts. That distance has created cracks in our usual way of working. But as Leonard Cohen reminds us, ‘there’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.’ Here’s to more light in 2021.” —Omar Lopez, Search Consultant

“2020 presented us with new challenges and opportunities to elevate our commitment to equity. I am proud to be part of a team whose core values were showcased during these trying times. We intentionally provided an outlet of inspiration for job seekers by creating our Community Hiring Collective that showcases employment opportunities (that On-Ramps wasn’t retained to fill) during a period of furloughs and layoffs. I am proud to be part of a team that works diligently to hold one another and our community accountable to equitable practices. Thank you for making a challenging year more bearable and innovative. I am truly looking forward to joyous moments in 2021.” —Nakia James-Jenkins, Partner

“I’ve been grateful to the members of our team who leaned in to support each other through the darkness. Whether it’s hosting Carbs and Conversation, picking up sourcing for a colleague struggling to get through the day, or pushing our commitment to equity, I’ve experienced each of my coworkers having a deep impact on our culture and genuinely lifting each other up. I see you and know that each of you leaned in, in ways that were authentic and true to what you could do and how you could show up. There were many days that my teammates, our work, and our purpose got me through the day. Looking forward, I hope we can all continue to lean into each other, authentically as ourselves, even as the world becomes a better, safer, and more just place.” —Rob Mayer, Partner

“I personally cannot wait for 2020 to become what the old adage calls it: hindsight. There is no doubt that most of us will look back on this past year as one of the most stressful, painful, and impactful years of our lives. The shadows cast this year will be long. But, pain oftentimes leads to clarity, growth, and transformation; 2020 has brought all of that, too—for On-Ramps, and for me personally. As a firm, On-Ramps’ primary message to the world is that ‘great things happen when organizations meet their match.’ Looking forward, I am more hopeful and optimistic than ever that On-Ramps will continue to be in the middle of great things happening.” —Harry Weiner, Founding Partner

“As 2020 closes out, I look back on my year with many emotions. I started the year in a new city as a new On-Ramper, eager to make strong connections and create positive social impact with my colleagues and clients. However, this year would also be filled with challenges: we transitioned to working from home amidst a global pandemic, and organized during an historic election and ongoing fight for racial justice and Black lives. I’ve been heartened by the many ways my coworkers supported one another virtually and stepped up to make an impact in their work and communities. Because of all that has happened this year, I am emboldened to continue the equity-centered work that I do at On-Ramps every day.” —Kevin Do, Search Analyst

“I feel immense gratitude to everyone I work with at On-Ramps, our candidates, and our clients who moved through this year by asking how they could make things better for someone else. Though this was a dark year in so many ways, I am heartened and inspired by others’ ability to create and spread goodness. I am also so grateful to work in a place that gives space to bring our full selves to work, especially when that means I have to take calls with a toddler on my lap!” —Madeline Scheffler, Search Consultant

“In a year that so frequently brought difficult and overwhelming moments, I don’t know that I’ve ever been more grateful to be at a place like On-Ramps. This year I experienced pain, loss, and heartbreak that was so difficult to navigate. And yet, every time I had to sign on to a client call, a huddle, a one-on-one, there were true, bright sparks of joy and of purpose that gave me a sense of hope. In fact, I started to rethink my days—instead of trying to process all my thoughts, emotions, and work, I started to say ‘OK, first this meeting. Deep breath. Now this one.’ In doing so, my colleagues and friends helped me find an anchor to be more present in that moment and not be so overwhelmed by the immensity of this year. I am so incredibly grateful for the folx on our team, our amazing clients, and our candidate network who helped me rediscover that sense of purpose and belonging.” —Will Wong, Principal

“2020 was a challenging year for so many reasons, and On-Ramps was a place where we could bring our whole selves to work in the midst of it and still be successful. The way we were able to come together as an organization for each other and those in our community is nothing short of inspiring. It was a pleasure to be able to collaborate with my team members as we brainstormed innovative ways to support ourselves and those around us. From our internal wellness newsletters that highlighted tips and tricks to adjust to the work-from-home lifestyle, to our external communications, to our virtual celebrations, to bringing the search process online, we have adapted with integrity and creativity.” —Imani Doyle, Search Associate

“The challenges of this year reminded me of how grateful I am for the opportunity to do meaningful work alongside colleagues I adore (even if we aren't physically alongside one another). Our team found ways to not only continue to partner closely, but to find joy and laughter, too. I'm looking forward to seeing what the new year has in store for us all.” —Michelle Kedem, Founding Partner