Bianca Palmisano, arrives at AimHire every morning promptly at 9 am and begins answering emails and voicemails, and troubleshooting any possible emergencies. From then on there is no typical day she says, “You never really know what a day is going to look like or who is going to walk through the door. I like it that way, I never get bored it continually challenges me and keeps me on my toes.”
Bianca works with Friendship Place participants seeking assistance finding employment and helps get them ready to go back in to the work force. That means anything from improving interview skills and drafting a resume to teaching people how to communicate their skills to employers.
Despite being the youngest staff member at Friendship Place, Bianca is often referred to as a power house focused on the big picture.
Bianca was brought on as an Employment Specialist last January when AimHire was “exploding,” she says and her job description has expanded alongside the program. Additionally, Bianca does a great deal of job development; cultivating relationships with companies and organizations in which to send job candidates. Further, she also considers herself the unofficial, “unqualified AimHire IT technician. When the computers die, people come to me,” she said with a laugh.
Before working with AimHire, Bianca moved to the DC from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to attend American University where she studied international studies, with a focus on peace and conflict resolution. In her freshman year she interned with Friendship Place doing policy work for the Homeless Veterans Initiative.
During her time at American, Bianca also spent a semester in Kenya learning about sustainable development. She feels she really benefitted from gaining an international view point to compare to her domestic one.
“It has given me an interdisciplinary look at what is going on in DC and how it relates to a global focus,” she says. “You can look at specific problems and see how everyone is dealing with this in one way or another and not just in America.”
Bianca has a well-rounded resume when it comes to her nonprofit experience working on all sides from policy to direct service. Over all, she says she most enjoys the operations side of nonprofit work. “I actually don’t think I am as good at working with people as I am at examining the pieces of a system and seeing what works and what doesn’t. I like tinkering with the nuts and bolts of a program.”
Bianca enjoys the flexibility she has at AimHire to offer creative solutions that allows her more times than not to, “give a yes!”
In addition to her work with AimHire, Bianca is passionate about LGBT issues and serves as Co-Chair of the Friendship Place LGBT working group. The group meets once a month to determine how Friendship Place can better serve participants in the LGBT community. Bianca and the group are working toward a goal of LGBT specific programing in the near future. “It is pretty exciting,” she says. “I like being a part of a movement with a long-term focus.”
Bianca also loves to dance and takes regular blues and jazz classes. She is also deeply invested in sex education and helps manage an organization called The Garden. She teaches private workshops and enjoys helping people, “live in their bodies and communicate better.”
Moving forward, Bianca is excited about the direction Friendship Place is headed. She says, “We are stepping into a new stage with innovative core programing and we need people who can look at what the 10 year picture will look like. I want to be a part of that and not allow the organization to rest, but to continue to keep up with the new challenges of the city.”
To learn more about the work Bianca and the AimHire team does visit FriendshipPlace.org.