2015 Leadership Member Scholar, St. Louis Chapter
Early in my career, a mentor surprised me by referring to our agency’s work with our clients as the “ultimate transaction”. As employees, many of us thought we were performing selfless work that benefited others. My mentor pointed out that we were receiving unsuspected rewards from our work, probably in greater quantity than what we had given. Our participants were teaching us and enriching our lives.
After that conversation I began seeing such transactions in other parts of my life: my service club, volunteer projects and in my professional associations. In these I received much more than I gave. GPA is one of these.
Throughout my years as a member I have been continually grateful for the ways GPA has fostered my professional development through training events, conferences, advice from colleagues, publications, and resources that are constantly useful. More importantly, however, I realized that each time I invested my time or talents, value came back to me.
I “retired” from non-profit work a few years ago, intending to be a consultant and write grants part-time. However, as they say, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Shortly after beginning this new chapter in my life, my husband’s company unexpectedly closed, dramatically reducing our household income. Fortunately though, my grant business began to take off. While my business was building, watching our budget was crucial. When I heard about the availability of scholarships to renew my GPA membership, I gratefully applied.
I was pleased and relieved to have a membership scholarship awarded to me. I was also even more committed to giving back and to helping build the field.
I serve on our chapter’s board, as a chapter officer and a committee chair. I provide communications and newsletters to our chapter members and act as registrar for our events. Recently I also presented one of our chapter’s monthly program seminars.
In good “ultimate transaction” fashion though, the Grant Professionals Association provided much more in return. It has given me mentors and guides, inspiration, heights to aspire to, training, information, and a network of support.
Through studying for the GPC exam and the certification process, GPA increased my confidence in my abilities and helped me see the value of my skills. It has urged me on and motivated me to resist my insecurities (like fear of public speaking) and provided new friends.
I owe a great deal of my success and my satisfaction in my work to my relationship with GPA. I encourage others to think about their own GPA relationship and recognize both sides of this transaction in our professional lives. Whatever we invest in our organization comes back to us many times over.