10 Questions with Jessica Griffin - Fund Development and Event Manager, The North Carolina Partnership for Children

What does a typical day look like for you?

I am not a morning person, so the AM struggle is very real. But I love my job so once I'm up and going the days are almost always great. Work days are full of meetings and blocking out time to focus on projects and my to-do list. After work I'm probably in a committee meeting, catching up on my DVR, kickboxing, or for the last month and a half I've been sitting in front of a pottery wheel. The NCSU craft center is a magical thing y'all.

What are you working on right now?

I work at the NC Partnership for Children building a one-woman fundraising shop housed in a phenomenal communications department. I also provide event support including all the logistics and planning for the National Smart Start Conference. #conferenceiscoming It is my first time running event planning on this scale and thankfully my department has excellent leadership and teamwork.

What was your path to get where you are today?

Wibbly-Wobbly. I can honestly say I've always wanted to do work that impacted my community or served others. But knowing what that means when you're 18 and entering college is tough. I did a lot of thinking and researching in my first professional job, post college. Interviewing coworkers and managers to find out what they liked most about their positions and what felt more like, well, work. From those conversations, as well as fortunate guidance from amazing supervisors, I realized I wanted to help others grow and develop professionally and stay in the nonprofit industry. I decided management was the right direction and that an MBA would help push me on the path I was starting to see. So I started grad school at Meredith (WOO women's colleges) shortly after I accepted my first development job. Graduating with my masters and finding a new job to challenge me are the most recent steps as I continue to grow professionally and put management and collaboration skills into practice.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

The most challenging and exciting thing so far has been building everything from scratch. The task has stretched me as a professional (and pushed my google research skills up a few levels) but building systems and collaborating to put process in place is beyond rewarding.

How do you effectively balance your time?

Three things:

  • Ending the day with a brain dumps of to-dos (for work, personal life, volunteer groups etc)
  • Starting my day by organizing the to-dos into time oriented lists (today, short term, long term, planning/strategy)
  • Calendaring everything! The gym, the meetings, the dinners with friends, blocking out time to work on xyz project, reminding myself to check in with friends I don't see often. I know it sounds crazy but balance is important and if I don't plan for things, something inevitably falls off my radar.

What are five tools you use on a regular basis?

  • Spotify
  • Google (gmail, tasks, calendar - see the previous question)
  • Doodle
  • Instagram
  • Google forms! (inefficient data collection and communication frustrates me so much)

What is the best career advice you have been given?

Favorites include: 'Show up', 'Life is relationships', 'No assholes', and 'Just because you start a book, doesn't mean you have to finish it'

Who or what inspires you?

  • Volunteering. Being with others and the energy that comes from working to solve a problem or achieve a goal is so inspiring.
  • Traveling. Especially if the beach, camping, or hiking is involved.
  • The instagram of Ms. Brittany Spears. She's hilarious and relatable and I don't care how hard you judge me for that one.

Why do you do what you do?

My job is the perfect hat trick of giving me the warm fuzzy feelings, stretching my abilities and growth as a professional, and money. My volunteering is 100% selfish. It satisfies my need to not only fund the causes I think do good in this world, but to help shape some good in this world by collaborating with others to grow and support our community.

Who should we interview next?

Anne Strickland, Assistant Executive Director - NC Association of School Administrators
Sara Marschhauser Steffen, Conservation Coordinator - Piedmont Wildlife Center
Sarah Harrison, Development - Planned Parenthood South Atlantic

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