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Are your students the learning from their mistakes type? Are they great communicators eager to understand the environment in which they evolve? Are they the type to help their friends to reach their potential? You might have a future director of non-profit in your classroom!
Discover this profile to find out about the possibilities of a Director position in the non-profit sector, and let your students know about their potential future career!

Meet Despina Mitropoulou

Picture of Despina Mitropoulou: Director of of GFOSS

For this STEM job profile, we talked with Despina Mitropoulou. Despina is Director of GFOSS – Open Technologies Alliance. Often invited as a speaker in multiple events and conferences, and having herself organised multiple workshop and conferences about the topic, Despina is what you would call an expert about Open-Source Policies, initiatives and projects.

“Once I started getting involved in Open Source and Openness in general, I was every day inspired by the people of the community, and my colleagues, to actively participate and contribute as much as possible.

Curious to find out more about Despina’s job? Read about the related skills and scroll down to find and download her career sheet.


Find out about the key skills to become a Director in a non-profit organization.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking and Problem-solving are necessary skills, especially when you manage a team and challenges raise daily, which you usually need to resolve in a short amount of time

IT Skills

Being a Director also means overseeing teams, tools and process that allow the organization to be functional. While directors are not technically involved in “however, to manage a team of software engineers and developers and monitor tech projects, technology literacy and understanding terminology and design principles are required“.

Time Management

Working in the non-profit sector often means limited time and human resources. “The main challenge is usually time management and monitoring of tasks… we do not have enough resources and time to implement everything! That is why time management, prioritization and delegation are essential skills“.


To be a Director, one has to be able to multitask and develop a wide range of skills, including editing, writing which are essential skills for creating or reviewing reports, policy
papers, studies etc. It is not unusual for a director to prepare analyses and translate their results for different audiences and purposes.


As a director in the non-profit sector, not only will you have to be an excellent collaborator within your organization and networks, but you will also have to come out of your comfort zone and collaborate with other stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of your actions and services, and strengthen your funding relationships.


Being a director means being the face of your organization. You will often be invited to meetings, workshops, conferences or high-level events to discuss the sector in which you are working, but also to provide input and promote specific topics for which you have expertise.

Advice to take away

“…it is ok if you do not always have a clear plan! The world evolves every day. And what we learned from this past year is that circumstances can change, so there might be a career path that you will end up following that has nothing to do with what you initially planned or studied.”

“I would suggest to teachers and parents to inspire and support children’s ambitions as much as possible. Expose them to many diverse opportunities. Let them try different things and experiment until they find their inclination and realize their talents.” – Despina Mitropoulou

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0: all the materials and content presented on this STEM Job profile have been co-created by STE(A)M IT, in collaboration with DUET, a project funded by the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No.870697.


Vanessa James

I am a communication coordinator in the Science Education Department of European Schoolnet (EUN). Holding a BA degree in Public relations and digital communications, I am passionate about graphic design, photography, web development and content management.