Staff Meeting is a feature here on the Forum’s Forum through which we check in with Forum staff members to find out what they’re working on, how you can get involved, and what they do in their off-hours.
What are your primary responsibilities at the Forum?
My primary responsibilities vary throughout the year. I schedule member calls and webinars and manage most of our vendor relationships for member discounts. I also edit the bi-weekly newsletter, Forum Bits, and write some of the content. I work with Mary O’Neill and Erin Skene-Pratt on the logistics of the annual conference and PolicyWorks Institute. Mary and I also work with the Council on Foundations and Alliance for Charitable Reform on Foundations on the Hill each year (FOTH 2013 will be March 19-20.) I also manage our surveys throughout the year especially the annual RA Salary & Benefits Survey and RA Characteristics Survey. In addition, I handle orientations for new RA staff, uploading job postings, adding RA events to our online calendar, and most of our office’s admin tasks.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
I would say the most enjoyable part of the job is the interactions with regional association staff. I always look forward to the times each year that we get to see each in person and not just via email and the phone. I also like analyzing the results of our two annual surveys. There are always interesting similarities and differences between the 34 RAs in the network that come out through this data.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I’m focused on a couple of things. We’ve recently launched the Foundations on the Hill website and registration and announced this year’s stipend application. I’m also starting to analyze the data from the latest characteristics survey. The data tables will be available soon and the comparison report will be available later in November. I’m also providing staff support to the Strategic Planning 3.0 Task Force and the Grantmaker Education Discovery Working Group. And even though Forum Bits only comes out every other week, it seems there is always work to do to pull it together.
How can regional association staff get involved (with what you’re working on)?
I’m always looking for programming ideas or volunteers to moderate for our topical calls and webinars for regional association staff. Any suggested content for Forum Bits is also always welcome. There is so much going on in the Network and the field as a whole that it can be hard to keep up with everything.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
While I’m both a baby and puppy hater according to Val, I strangely have a fascination with going to the National Zoo each time a new baby animal is on display. The cheetahs and gazelle are next on my list. DC has a lot of great art museums and galleries so I try to visit the new exhibitions that open. I’m looking forward to seeing the Roy Lichtenstein and Ai Weiwei exhibits that just opened this month. It takes me about 45 minutes to commute to work on the Metro so I’m pretty attached to my Kindle where I have mix of fiction bestsellers, a ton of celebrity/comedian memoirs, and nonfiction books about somewhat odd topics (pigeons, corpses, and giant ocean waves to name a few). I’m also pretty obsessed with nearly anything on Bravo (Yes, I’ve already read Andy Cohen’s book.)
At the Forum Office, you are the chief researcher and resident expert in our pursuit of random daily facts. What are your favorite “Fact of the Day” facts?
- Pomelos are an actual fruit- It is also the largest citrus fruit in diameter.
- J.K. Simmons is the voice of the yellow M&M- The yellow peanut M&M was originally voiced by John Goodman.
- Eggs are not a dairy product– Yes, Dan & I had to confirm. The egg carton was invented in 1911 in British Columbia and was originally made of paper.
- The difference between a bison and a buffalo- The American bison is commonly referred to as the American buffalo but are not closely related to the Asian water buffalo or African buffalo. The American bison is featured on the state flag of Wyoming where it’s also the state animal.
- Number of countries v. Number of countries in United Nations- The US State Department recognizes 195 independent countries (Taiwan is not recognized by the US as an independent country but as a province of China). There are 193 members of the United Nations. Kosovo and Vatican City are not members of the UN though Vatican City/Holy See is a permanent observer. To make it even more confusing, 205 countries participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
- An extra fact for the Halloween holiday- It was not until the mass Irish and Scottish immigration in the 1800s that Halloween was brought to North America in large numbers. Confined to the immigrant communities during the mid-19th century, it was gradually assimilated into mainstream society and by the first decade of the 20th century it had been adopted across the country. Trick or treating became a popular Halloween activity in the 1930s.
Anything else we should know?
I feel the need to call myself out on the fact that I was scheduled to complete this blog post much earlier in the year (sorry Dan!). I had originally written something about how I’d recently finished my last day of 27 days of grand jury service and wanted to thank Mary and Dan for helping to cover some of my work while I was away. This still deserves to be said…thank you! It was definitely an interesting experience of not only the American justice and DC court system but also the decision-making skills (or lack thereof) of those under the influence of drugs.