How did your career journey lead you to Geneva Global?
My career journey is still unfolding, but it has been serendipitous so far! My BA is in Global Studies and French Studies, which allowed me to take courses in global health, economics, history, government, and anthropology. I also completed internships in my college’s Grants Administration and Financial Services offices—my first forays into nonprofit operations. After college, I formed my client advisory skills at Global Impact—Geneva Global’s parent company—where I helped an INGO client develop a multiyear fundraising and awareness campaign. Following a shift to the private sector, I joined Geneva Global last December, where I get to apply my interests, learnings, and experiences on a daily basis.
What does your role at Geneva Global involve?
I’m a member of our Donor Advising team, which works closely with private foundations and family clients seeking to make their philanthropy more intentional, effective, and equitable. Over the past nine months, I’ve primarily supported two leading philanthropic foundations, and on any given day I’m supporting an international grantmaking team as they implement their programmatic and grantmaking strategies, or lending project managing expertise to develop materials and deliverables across our clients and workstreams.
What fulfills you most about your role?
My team! Something about Geneva Global that stood out for me—and still does—is our dedication to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and the shared importance of upholding these values in our work with clients and in our personal lives. This creates an environment where everyone has a seat at the table and an opportunity to inform and improve our approaches and methods. On top of this, everyone is genuinely kind, sharp, funny, and supportive.
How has the philanthropy landscape changed over the last few years?
While I’m still learning about the sector and landscape, there is an increasing focus on knowledge sharing and collaboration, especially among wealthy donors—and the COVID-19 pandemic certainly shifted the frequency and importance of these kinds of collaborations. There’s also a growing understanding and acknowledgement that greater impact can be achieved when donors of any background pool their resources toward the causes they care about and share their mistakes, successes, and lessons learned.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in philanthropy (or philanthropy consulting)?
Philanthropy is a niche sector, but what underlies this work is a passion for making a difference and an eagerness to learn. As consultants, we meet clients wherever they are in their philanthropic journey—guiding them through challenging moments and celebrating as they achieve their goals. Our work and approaches are customized to those needs, which brings a freshness to what we do each day—and each of us contributes to our client work differently. My advice is to follow your interests, gain skills and knowledge in different areas across the philanthropic ecosystem, and apply them where you feel most passionate about making an impact.
What are you most excited about for the future of philanthropy?
I share my colleagues’ excitement for trust-based philanthropy. What’s most exciting is the recognition and empowerment of local leaders and experts—those closest to the work—to develop solutions and approaches that will succeed in their communities. This also moves beyond a transactional form of grantmaking, instead placing focus on the importance of building and maintaining relationships, transparency, and trust to achieve shared goals.
What are you reading right now?
I’m a terribly slow leisure reader, but I’m currently reading Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. I first learned about Toni Morrison’s background and experienced her raw, powerful writing reading Sula in a college English class. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Where do you get your news?
For local news, I’m a fan of WUNC (my local NPR station) and INDY Week, alongside the Portland Press Herald for news from my home state of Maine. For national and international news, I look to the New York Times, NPR, Le Monde, and the BBC. Through my work, I also often read regional publications in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
How has your work-from-home journey been? Any tips or tricks?
My work from home journey has evolved since the spring of 2020. I’ve found that I need a dedicated (or mostly dedicated) space for calls and focus time. In my current “office” (i.e., multipurpose guest room), I’ve situated my desk so I have a view of my side yard, where I can watch cardinals, finches, hummingbirds, and wrens visit throughout the day.
While I’ve enjoyed the flexibility that comes with working from home, nothing beats moments of in person connection. I had the wonderful opportunity to spend several days in Geneva Global’s office last month (since work remotely from North Carolina), and it was refreshing to have both casual and productive working moments with my colleagues.
To meet the rest of our team, please click here.