By Meghann Adams, GPC – Grants Manager at Zoo Atlanta
2014 GPC Scholar
I grew up wanting to be an English teacher just like my dad. Or I could be a movie director. My dad and I even joked about me growing up to be a beer truck driver. You get to travel at least, right? Well, needless to say, I did not pursue any of those career paths. I decided to be a grant professional. When I tell people what I do for a living, they either cringe at the thought of writing or they instantly become my best friend (because they could really use a grant writer!).
I recognize the need to educate others about our commonly misunderstood occupation. We need to share with others not only the purpose of grants, but also our role as a grant professional. All of us are making a positive impact in some way within our organizations, our communities, our world. Most of us collaborate with so many different people or ghost write for our organization’s leaders that we forget we are an important piece of the puzzle too. We need to trust in ourselves and speak up because we are a vital part of the team.
Now that I know I am on my most fulfilling career path, I am focused on improving my skills, knowledge and experience as a Grants Manager. I became involved with the Grant Professionals Association on a local and national level. I had been considering pursuing the CFRE, but when I learned about the GPC, I knew that was the credential that made the most sense for me.
Thanks to the GPC scholarship that I received from the Grant Professionals Foundation, I was able to pursue my professional development goal of earning my GPC in a short amount of time. My husband and I were ready to start our family, so time was of the essence. When I found out we were expecting twins, I realized I needed to obtain my GPC NOW or it may never get done. My life was going to change tremendously in a short amount of time, and I needed to do this first for myself and my career.
The fact that I had two babies on the way motivated me to study hard, read everything I could get my hands on and chat with seasoned colleagues to prepare for the GPC exam. As I sat down to take the exam, morning sickness in full swing, I hoped that my hard work would pay off. It did. Less than a year after earning my GPC, my employer promoted me to Grants Manager and I received a nice raise as well. I was also asked to conduct an organization-wide workshop about grants for our employees that was well received. I am fortunate because my supervisors understand and value the importance of professional development. They fully support my efforts to continually grow and learn as a grant professional. By earning my GPC, I have shown them that I am committed to my profession and my employer. I help put our best foot forward when I cultivate grantmakers. Going through the process of becoming certified has made me realize that people value me and my contributions.
After obtaining my GPC, I am more confident in myself since I took the extra steps to prove that I have the education, experience, community involvement and ethics of a certified grant professional. Sure, it is not required to have a GPC to be a successful grant writer, but in my experience, it has furthered the success of my career and helped me gain respect for the experience and knowledge that I bring to the table.