GPA 2021 Annual Conference Scholarship Essay by Cynthia Wasco

Receiving The Dr. Bev Browning/Dr. Bernard Turner African American Conference Scholarship from the Grant Professional Association Foundation to attend the 2021 Annual Conference (virtual), was an amazing experience! Without this scholarship, I would have not been able to attend due to cost. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow with my fellow grant professionals. Thank you for a seamless virtual conference experience. 

I recently received my CFRE in October and was ready to attend a national conference to absorb even more from my sector. There were so many inciteful workshops that I either attended in real-time or saved to watch later. One of the workshops I truly appreciated was the, How’d You Find That Funder? workshop. Excellent tricks to thinking outside the box in search of new grant opportunities. Although the information was not new to me, The Perfect Marriage: Grants & Marketing, is a workshop that should be offered year over year. Social media is still a newer form of marketing for many professionals yet has been around now for quite some time. I have always been fascinated by how to make social media work to the nonprofit’s advantage, especially in advocacy work, and feel our nonprofit field, does not put enough time to truly understand its power. This was an excellent workshop of beginner information on how to get set up on social media and I would love to see a follow-up on now that you are set up, how to make it work for you! 

One of my favorite workshops was the personal development workshop called, Women in Leadership: Using Your Innate Abilities & Tendencies to Influence Change. I found this workshop to be perfect timing! It spoke about “Be Leader vs. Do Leader” and how some people are a leader by title and others are the “go-to” person by staff and are natural leaders by example.  This workshop resonated the most with me because, throughout my career, I have always felt like a “behind the scenes” leader; someone other staff members came to for advice or direction, without an official leadership title. It was inspiring and left me with tips and tricks to take into my day-to-day work.