I recently took a new job as associate vice president of development at Hamline University — a big step up that I’m really excited about and grateful for — and my journey to this role literally started with Apra. I was sitting in a session at the Prospect Development conference in August (specifically, Andrea Holland’s session on portfolio optimization) when I received a text from a former coworker I hadn’t heard from in a couple of years: “Hey Mark. Still here at this #? Call me! At Hamline now…would like to catch up. Mike.” This led to a coffee, then a lunch, then an application, then an interview, and finally an offer and acceptance.
If not for Apra, I would never have gotten that text from Mike.
Of course it’s an exaggeration to suggest that my being at that Apra conference is responsible for setting things in motion. But, it is absolutely true that without Apra, this wouldn’t have happened.
Mike and I were colleagues at Carleton College from 2006 until 2012. Over those six years, I did a lot of work to help enable his success: There was the affinity scoring developed to prioritize prospects reaching their 50th reunion year; in-depth biographical research on countless high-level prospects; data analysis and visualization to better understand and communicate giving trends among alumni who were involved with athletics; the development of improved prospect management policies; and the list goes on. All of these projects (and tons of other work) were enabled by the professional development and education I received through Apra. I can recount specific sessions I attended — going back more than a decade — that have given me the skills and knowledge I need to be able to do that work.
If not for Apra, I wouldn’t be where I am, nor going where I’m going.
It was because of this history of providing value and helping Mike to be successful that he thought to reach out to me about his current needs and the big challenges he is now facing in his role at Hamline University. It’s because of Apra that I was able to play this role for him then, and more importantly, that I’m equipped now to take a position that previously may have seemed out of reach.
Apra has been a continuous thread through nearly all of my professional life, and it’s somewhat overwhelming to take stock of the ways it has benefitted me. If not for Apra, I wouldn’t be where I am, nor going where I’m going.
As we embark on a new year together, I invite you to reflect in similar ways. What strides have you made in your career in part thanks to Apra? What do you want to learn in 2019, and does Apra have a resource to help you achieve that? The association has a wealth of educational and informational material, whether it’s content on Connections, podcasts or in-person events (just to name a few options). Perhaps more important, however, is this question: How will you “pass it on”? Our association thrives on members sharing knowledge and expertise. Volunteering in a role where you can lend your time and talent not only gives back to the association, but also could impact someone else’s future in a very meaningful way. I encourage you to visit the Apra volunteer page to learn more.
I look forward to serving you as president of Apra this year and wish you much success in your continued professional growth.