2022 GPA Conference Scholar Essay, by Mike Weinrauch

Thank you, thank you, thank you to GPF, and all the grant professionals who contribute to allow for conference scholarships. I was the grateful beneficiary this year, and I loved every minute of being at the GPA annual conference in Louisville. This was my 2nd GPA conference, having previously attended in Chicago in 2018 when I was younger and, presumably, dumber. This year, I was resolved to engage in the opportunity every way I could, and to grow from the experience – and I’m happy to report only positive results. This one involved a good amount of traveling to get there, as I reside in Fredericton, New Brunswick these days, and there are no flights requiring less than 2 connections. So to make it happen, you really have to want to go, and the help along the way from GPF made the journey possible.

It was a special homecoming personally; as one of a handful of Canadian grant pros in attendance, and as a former Louisvillian, it was so terrific to connect with colleagues both familiar and new, including faces or names I knew from trainings or online who I have never actually met. I was fortunate to learn about all manner of post-award grants management especially; and how to master technology to write/organize better, more competitive proposals – including federal appropriations earmarks. I came for the information on technical aspects of the craft, but in between all that was something else: the professional pride associated with being part of a larger community. And in one sense I do mean geographic and being a member of the chapter that hosted the conference, but in the bigger picture what I am referring to is the comfort in the knowledge that you all are out there – all the grant pros who do what you do every day.

I have been a member for a few years, and I am so grateful to each of you for a thousand different things – the mentoring, the friendly advice, the modelling of how to be a consultant and a pro. I learn something new every day from the interactions on Grant Zone and the exposure to you all in-person and in real life was absolutely invaluable. I bring back with me not only sharper skills and a sense of purpose from having participated, and am left with the promise that I can and will return the favour to the profession any way I can. Thank you for providing the inspiration. Season’s greetings to all and a happy 2023.