Editor's note: And now for something completely different! Here's someone who works at an organization you might not think of as a nonprofit at first glance.
Tristan Schmid is Communications Director for the Brewers of Indiana Guild, the nonprofit trade group that represents the Hoosier brewing industry. You can find him on social media @TigerSharkMusic.
How long have you lived in Indy?
I've lived in Indy for nearly a decade: first on the Eastside near Irvington, then next to Broad Ripple park, then Fountain Square, and now I'm in Garfield Park.
Why have you focused your career on the nonprofit sector?
I've focused my career on nonprofits and community-focused companies because there are countless problems that need solutions. I've been very fortunate to grow up with a good family, in a safe community, and have never wanted for much, so working for and with mission-focused organizations is my way of giving back.
Plus, it simply feels better to work for an organization where the funds raised go toward doing good rather than filling someone's pockets.
How did you find your current position?
Several years ago, I wanted to launch an Indiana beer trail. This was when there were only 50 or so breweries in the state (now there are 125+). That didn't take off, but I sat on the idea, and a few years later, I approached Rita Kohn about trying to develop it again.
Rita is the Grand Dame of Indiana beer, and she told me to bring my proposal to Clay Robinson, founder of Sun King Brewing, because he had recently become president of the Brewers of Indiana Guild. I'd known Clay since he founded Sun King, and after a quick pitch in the tasting room, he told me that they could probably pay me something to develop the beer trail - but more importantly, he mentioned that they had just developed a new communications position, and that I should apply for it.
A month later, I found out I'd beat 125 other applicants to land the job, and now I get to help develop and run incredible programs like the IN Beer Brigade to help support the Hoosier brewing community.
What would you say to another young professional considering a nonprofit job?
Figure out how you can combine your talents and education with your passions.
I've always loved animals, and when I worked at Angie's List my coworkers would often find stray animals and bring them into the office, not wanting to take them to the shelter. At the time, I was on the board an animal welfare nonprofit (Move to Act) and was learning more about the field.
I knew how important fostering and adoption was, so at the same time I was producing a blog and podcast for Angie's List, I did the same to help strays find homes while my coworkers fostered them.
We helped about a dozen cats and dogs find homes that way, and before I knew it, John Aleshire, the new CEO of the Humane Society of Indianapolis, found out what I was doing through their board president at the time, David Horth, and shortly thereafter I was hired as IndyHumane's marketing and communications director.
If you could learn a brand new skill, what would it be?
I've used a computer since I was 4 years old. It's been the main component of almost every job I've had, and hobbies too, like producing electronic music or making digital artwork. I'm always looking at a screen, so my dream is to one day "retire" from screens - I'd love to leave the digital communications up to someone else.
I've thought a lot about getting into woodworking, and brewing more, too. I'd love to become skilled in doing something that has tangible (or drinkable) results.
If you were an inanimate object, what would you be and why?
I'm a huge Nine Inch Nails fan, and there's a lyric that goes, "I want to know everything. I want to be everywhere..." It would be cool to be an old apartment building or house in a dynamic city like Vancouver, Canada, surrounded by mountains and water, while getting to know all the different people and families and see how their lives adapt with their home.
What do you hope to accomplish that you haven’t yet?
I want to directly save the lives of apex predators - tigers, lions, sharks. So many of them are endangered, mainly because humans - the ultimate apex predator - are killing them off in huge numbers, whether because we feel threatened by them or see a profit in them.
I started Project XTNCT to help fund nonprofits that help these animals by selling limited-edition merchandise, but I'd like to do something more hands-on at some point. Who knows - maybe in a decade I'll be part of an anti-poaching unit somewhere.
Also, I hope to one day cage-dive with Great White Sharks.
Share a little-known treasure of Indianapolis with us.
The Garfield Park Conservatory is incredible. It houses hundreds of varieties of plants, including a big cocoa tree and a small "sensitive plant" that folds its leaves up when you touch it. They also host an orchid show annually with some astoundingly beautiful and varied plants. Plus, it only costs a few bucks to get in.
Most important question: You're on a desert island and can only choose one style of beer to be stranded with. What style is it?
Beer people will think I'm crazy for saying this, but I'd go with a good barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. It would pack a punch and plenty of flavor to keep my mind and tastebuds occupied during my dilemma.
Want to support Tristan's work?
Do you love craft beer (and are of legal drinking age)? Want to get some good stuff while helping the Indiana brewing industry?
Tristan and the Brewers of Indiana Guild just launched the IN Beer Brigade, a membership program through which you'll get access to exclusive members-only beers, parties, and more. The first beer, Corn King IPA, is a collaboration brewed by 3 Floyds and Indiana's 20+ northwestern breweries. Sun King will host next year's collaboration brew, followed by Upland in 2018. Proceeds benefit the Guild's mission to support Indiana breweries.
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