By DeaRonda Harrison, MBA – Consultant, June First Firm LLC
GPF Conference Scholar 2015 – Peach State Scholarship
The GPA Annual conference is always the highlight of my grant year. The conference kicked off with a hit linking up Special Interest Groups! I always look forward to the SIG session and the Consultants SIG did not disappoint. Those in the group were open and honest in telling us what to do and what not to do. There were members with over 20, 30, and even 40 years of experience in the room and I absorbed it all. The key takeaway for me, partner with others in your field in order to expand your services to help more people. I truly believe in partnerships and this solidified that belief for me.
I enjoyed learning about the benefits of earning GPC and pursuing writing in the GPA newsletter, which later could become a contribution to the GPA Journal. What I loved most was learning from other seasoned grant professionals’ experience to avoid difficulties in my own practice. I saw that the role of mentorship highlights that it is really about relationship building and being more than a mentor—being a giver, being an inspiration. I enjoyed networking with like-minded professionals, because unless you do it you don’t understand this work. The GPA conference encouraged me to keep moving forward and taught me who to call when it is time for me to partner with another professional.
Tinsear Forrest kept it real in the “Are you Grant Ready,” session and Amanda Day whipped me into shape by putting the GPC on my radar. Heather Stombaugh taught me that I’m not a magician even though my clients may feel this way. And Kimberly Hays de Muga and others showed me that even I could put an article in the newsletter that could be the start of an eventual scholarly article in the GPA journal.
I’m glad I was there and didn’t miss this year. As this year’s theme states, “Gateway to Grant Success,” this conference continues to help me achieve success as a grant professional.