10 Questions or Less is a feature through which we get to know regional association staff members a little better—their work, what drives them, and more. This week, Cindy Verity Frantz, Communications Director at North Carolina Network of Grantmakers. If you would like to suggest someone for a profile through 10 Questions or Less, contact Dan Brady.
The annual meeting continues to be our most popular member event, but this year we've also had great success with a series of skills based workshops for emerging leaders and new grantmakers. We've used the Essential Skills and Strategies curriculum and are offering each module individually every few months. We have received positive feedback and continued interest, so we have also offered skills based sessions that aren't included in the ESS curriculum, such as Evaluating Nonprofit Financials, and Conducting Effective Site Visits. One of our seasoned members usually teaches the session which saves on costs and serves as a good opportunity for members to network. This method works well because we've found that it easier for folks to get away for a half day than taking two full days out of the office.
Is there anything you’re working on now that is particularly exciting?
We just wrapped up a funders tour of farmworker labor camps to learn about the issues facing migrant and seasonal farmworkers in North Carolina. The farmworker community in our state is one of the lowest paid, least protected, and under-served populations, so a group of funders came together to see firsthand what life can be like for the people that we rely on to feed us. Over the course of the two day intensive workshop, we heard from advocates and experts about the health, education, and legal issues affecting this community and were lucky enough to have dinner with farmworkers while visiting the labor camp where they work and live. This was a really fun program to work on and a fascinating topic that doesn't get a lot of attention from this angle.
In your role as Communications Director of NCNG, how does the Forum network contribute to your work? What’s one thing you do in your position that the Forum network can help with?
Above all, the amount of knowledge, experience, and expertise within the Forum network has been a great asset for me. I really appreciate the ability to ask colleagues for guidance, advice, or resources, because someone usually has interesting insights to share.
You've put in a lot of work on the Salesforce Steering Committee of the Knowledge Management initiative. From your perspective, what is the best part of getting everyone working on the same system?
The Salesforce Steering Committee was my first experience with the KM initiative and it has been really exciting to share my love of Salesforce with a larger group. The four of us on the Steering Committee have each been using Salesforce for a couple of years (some more than others) and were trading tips and advice long before our “committee” was formalized. The options for customization with Salesforce are virtually unlimited and having a trusted colleague that you can bounce solutions off of, compare approaches, and ask questions after you've exhausted all other resources, is invaluable.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
By far, the most rewarding part of my job is learning from our members. Each program that I work with a member on is a new opportunity to learn from the unique skills set and background of that member. Our foundations are doing amazing work in North Carolina and I’m lucky enough to see some of that work first hand while learning from the great people who make it happen.
You played a big role on the planning committee for this year’s Forum Annual Conference in Pittsburgh. What did that entail?
Being on the annual conference planning committee was a great experience. In addition to getting to know colleagues from around the country, I thought it was really interesting to be on involved in planning someone else’s annual meeting. We have a pretty good system down for planning NCNG’s annual meeting, so it was interesting to see other approaches and compare strategies. We held conference calls every month or so and each person on the committee was generally responsible for putting together one or two sessions. (Go BIG DATA!)
Right after the conference, you competed in an ironman. What was that like? Can you draw any parallels between the skills you need for an ironman to the work your do at NCNG, both with members and with other RAs in the network?
Simply put, the ironman was crazy. My husband and I did this race together and although triathlon is inherently an individual sport, training and racing together made us approach this race as a team. There are times when ironman is completely individual and other times when you need to lean on each other or pull each other up. Learning that balance between working as a team and working individual is certainly applicable in my work. Though we’re a small staff of three and work fairly independently, there are times when we work more efficiently together than we do apart and learning that balance is key. The same can be said of work with the Salesforce Steering Committee. Each RAs work is inherently individually, but it is great to be able to turn to the “team” after all else has been tried.
We’re both Millennials. What, if anything, do you think our generation does differently work-wise?
For better or worse, I think Millennials are natural multi-taskers and expect to get things done quickly. However, I think our ability to work well together across generations relies much more on individual styles and personalities than generation differences or similarities.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
Triathlon! My colleagues at NCNG and those on the Salesforce Steering Committee know more than they ever wanted to know about my obsession with triathlon. An ironman triathlon is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run that must be completed in 17 hours or less. Needless to say, it makes for a long day, but thanks to my supportive community, I completed both the Ironman Coeur D’Alene and the Vineman Full Ironman this summer.
Anything else we should know?
I was born in Japan, though I was probably one of the blondest babies to leave the hospital that day.