By Kim Joyce, GPC of Kim Joyce & Associates, LLC
2013 GPC Scholar
Nearly six years ago, I went out on my own as an independent grant professional. In the span of two short weeks, I landed my first two clients, quit my full-time job, became self-employed, and never looked back. At the time, I didn’t know what I was doing. But I quickly came across a professional organization with people just like me – the Grant Professionals Association – Arizona Founding Chapter. It was a myriad of personalities and job titles, but we all had one thing in common – we were all grant professionals. In an instant, I belonged to a professional group, and this sea of unknown faces became friends who were there to help.
As I navigated my way through the consulting world, I learned something very quickly. While interviewing with new potential clients (and often the first 6 months of having a new client where they instantly wanted to know what their “ROI” was going to be), I was constantly trying to prove my worth.
At GPA chapter meetings, our President would talk about becoming certified and the benefits of becoming a GPC (gypsy). What did that mean? Why did I need to do that? Would I pass the test? If I didn’t pass the test, would I be able to show my face again?
I thought about it and thought about it, and wanted to take the test. But as a consultant, it is sometimes feast or famine, and it was quite expensive. Could I afford it, and what if I didn’t pass? I desperately wanted to join the ranks of the many colleagues I admired. I too, wanted those three little, yet powerful, letters behind my name (GPC).
After months of perusing the GPCI website, studying the timelines, and figuring out what I thought I should study, I completed my application to see if I was eligible to sit for the exam. Success! Now what? Since I was self-employed and the test was costly, I decided to fill out the application for a scholarship. This application, and becoming a scholarship recipient, changed my career and my life.
I found out at the GPA National conference in Baltimore that I had received the scholarship! I took the test several months later and passed. That was all I had originally wanted – to pass the test. However, looking back, I see how this has changed the path of my career and I am even more grateful now, than I was on that day when I received the scholarship (the same day that Michael Phelps’ mom was a speaker at the conference!).
Since then, amazing things have happened as a result of my certification. I can say that I am among an elite group of 19 in Arizona who are GPCs; I can negotiate contracts at a higher rate; I have been able to secure clients over other grant writers who are not certified; I can explain to others “my worth” and why I am not “just another grant writer”; and most of all, I can mentor others who want to take the test but are afraid – I can give them the push they need to do it (as others did for me), encourage them to apply for the scholarship, and let them know the benefits it can have on their career. I am so grateful for the opportunities that have come as a result of the scholarship I received from the Grant Professionals Foundation. My consulting business has grown by leaps and bounds, and it is my hope that all scholarship recipients are able to use their strengths, talents, and their certification to advance in, and elevate this profession. Thank you GPF – I am forever grateful!