Director of Development,
Georgia Center for Child Advocacy
What sparked your interest in your work?
I used to work in the corporate world. That didn’t last very long. I realized early in my career that I needed to do something more meaningful and be a part of an organization with a greater purpose and impact. For me, it was never about asking people for money or fundraising. What drove me and continues to drive me to love what I do is making incredible connections with others, being able to educate them, and having an opportunity to share my passion with my community. The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy’s (GCCA) mission to provide hope and healing for abused kids helps provide me with that fulfillment. Not only does this initiative make a huge impact in the community, it also tackles a highly stigmatized issue that we often don’t talk about. I hope to be a catalyst to help ignite change surrounding these conversations.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career thus far?
“You will never know unless you ask.” I know this seems like a simple concept, but I think it’s often easily forgotten. In some instances, I could do all my homework and pitch my cause to someone whose funding priorities align perfectly with GCCA's mission, only to find out they are simply not interested. However, in other instances, it may resonate with someone I didn’t think to ask – leading to much-needed support, resources, and funding. You might be pleasantly surprised by who responds when you start asking for support in places you haven’t considered before.
What is the most valuable skill you’ve learned?
Especially in development, you’ll constantly encounter new people that will want to know more about your organization. I’ve learned that a well-perfected elevator pitch is important for bringing my cause to life. It’s important to hone in on how the work of my organization relates to them in a very short amount of time. I’ve learned that time is valuable and that the window of opportunity is short. It’s so important to capture an audience in a few words while still being thorough and authentic.
What advice would you give to those interested in your work?
Do not fear rejection. Be confident and be RESILIENT. In the development world, you are going to receive hundreds of “No’s.” It's important not to get discouraged and to remind yourself of why you do what you do. It also makes the thrill of getting that “Yes” so much more worth it! Just remember to stay positive and optimistic. Many times, a “No” can just mean it’s not the right time for them. It doesn’t mean that their answer can't change in the future. So don't take rejection personally, stay persistent, and continue to cultivate and nurture relationships. You never know when that "No" can turn into a “Yes."
How has your involvement with YNPN shaped your experience in the nonprofit sector?
Through my involvement with YNPN, I realized that you never stop learning. Being in the nonprofit industry, particularly in development, you’re expected to wear many hats. YNPN has provided some really great networking events where I was able to hear from seasoned professionals as well as young professionals that have experienced similar challenges. Being a member of YNPN has given me the opportunity to surround myself with like-minded professionals, share ideas, and become part of a professional community. Because of the experience I am able to better serve my organization and more effectively lead my team.
What do you value most about YNPN?
I have had the incredible privilege of meeting amazing young leaders that have dedicated their lives to bettering this world. Connecting with these professionals has offered new insights and creative ideas. I have really enjoyed learning about other causes that are affecting our community and seeing their shared commitment for change. They inspire and motivate me to be a better nonprofit professional through each interaction.