Certain Apra members who choose to go above and beyond in the prospect research field are recognized with Apra Awards, which are presented at the annual Apra Prospect Development conference. Why? To say, “It’s inspiring that you’re doing so much to further this important field, and you deserve some love.” We feel these inspiring overachievers have a lot to teach us, so we decided to pick the brains of the 2018 winners in a new interview series.
In this second Q&A in the series, we speak with Michael Quevli, senior consultant at Blackbaud Target Analytics. Quevli was the recipient of the 2018 Apra Distinguished Service Award, and award that honors an individual who has enhanced both the prospect development profession and Apra through exceptional contributions beyond their daily paid work. The award takes into account professional competencies and personal competencies (contributions that facilitate learning and talents that are exceptional).
Quevli joined Blackbaud in 2008 after working for a number of years in nonprofit prospect development. He served two consecutive terms for the California Advancement Researchers Association (CARA), where, during his tenure, membership grew from 165 to 300. He served on the board of directors for Apra for nine consecutive years, and was president in 2012. He is currently serving on the board of trustees for Apra. Finally (as if that isn’t enough), he served for three consecutive terms on the Stephens College Alumnae Association Board. Quevli is a frequent speaker for Apra and taught at the College of Extended Learning at Cal State Northridge in prospect research and prospect management.
What was your reaction to receiving the 2018 Apra Distinguished Service Award?
I was completely stunned, and honored does not even begin to cover it. I was actually at the NEDRA [the New England Apra Chapter] Conference and got the email during their awards luncheon. I was sitting next to my colleague Melissa Bank Stepno, and she saw me get really emotional, so I showed her the email. She along with three other dynamic women nominated me, so it was perfect timing.
Why are you passionate about this profession and helping to further its advancement?
I was taking a slight break from the entertainment industry and discovered this whole profession, because the researcher at AIDS Project Los Angeles sat right across the way from me. I had no idea that this was a profession and it intrigued me right away. She left and I interviewed for the position and got it. Within one month of becoming a researcher, I got to attend the Apra International Conference in San Diego. It was amazing, and I learned so much and had so many people offering to mentor me. I knew that I needed pay it forward and vowed then and there that anything I can do for prospect development I would do.
What career milestones have led you to where you are today?
Being offered the director of prospect research at the Keck School of Medicine was huge, and being on the board of CARA [California Advancement Researchers Association] was amazing. I was so fortunate to serve with so many outstanding people. Then simultaneously I was offered to be a consultant with Kintera P!N and got elected to the Apra International Board.
Who have you looked up to as a leader or mentor?
There are so many people — which is why I love this profession. I can’t possibly name everyone and I would be afraid of leaving someone out.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the Apra community?
Engaging with everyone, whether it is via email, phone or — best of all — in person at conferences. Being together at conferences is truly amazing, and I never fail to learn something.
What is your advice for those just starting in the field and looking to grow into their role?
Get involved on any level and don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is the most helpful group of individuals I have ever met. Volunteering at chapter or international conferences are great ways to meet amazing people and to always walk away with something that helps you either professionally or personally.
Get involved on any level and don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is the most helpful group of individuals I have ever met.
Anything else to add?
I have the award in my office, and there are days when I look at it and can’t believe that I received this honor. This is like winning an Oscar!