By Katherine Scott, Prospect Development Officer, Ryerson University; President, Apra Canada
Like many of us in this profession, I fell into prospect research and discovered that this was work I could enjoy. My first job was at Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), where I began working in a newly created prospect research role more than a decade ago. While I enjoyed my work in donor relations and had confidence in the mission of the organization, I must admit I needed to search “what is prospect research” online when applying for the role.
I had completed a graduate degree in international development with the intention of working for an international organization. Family demands required me to stay in Canada and find a new career pathway, however. My work in prospect research, which included writing case statements, donor reports and proposals, as well as the prospect research work, allowed me to put my academic and prior international work experience to good use.
It was during this early career phase, as the sole employee in research, that I discovered my local Apra chapter, Apra Canada. Through my chapter’s mentorship program, I was paired with an amazing mentor who taught me the ins and outs of research. More importantly, she coached me on ways to manage my workload and manage expectations with my managers. This was a cornerstone in my success and satisfaction in delivering top quality research while avoiding burnout. These skills have carried me through my research career as a researcher and a leader.
The confidence and satisfaction I gained from my early experience with Apra led me to further adventures and engagement within the profession, such as conference attendance (both chapter and international), volunteering, speaking and eventually chapter board leadership where I now serve as president of Apra Canada. I was also able to complete a graduate degree in information science, which helped me to secure my current role as a prospect development officer at Ryerson University.
I encourage all members to get involved in Apra or their local chapters in whichever way suits them. There are already a range of opportunities, but you have the ability to come up with your own. Our association will only improve with dynamic and fresh member involvement.