Let’s Ask Our Members
“If you could invite any person from history to be the keynote speaker at the annual conference, who would it be and why?”
I posed that question to four GMN members, all of whom have attended most of the past five conferences – and received four very different responses. Of course, it won’t be possible to have any of these people address a ballroom full of grants managers, but I can assure you that this year’s conference will once again have interesting, dynamic, and thought-provoking keynote presenters who will inform and challenge us to Brew Bold Ideas. Read on for their responses, and post your own suggestions to the GMN Online Community!
Mary Sobecki is the Grants Manager/Program Officer at the Needmor Fund in Toledo, Ohio and also serves on the Steering Committee for the Ohio Region of GMN. Besides her “day job,” Mary has been performing stand-up and improvisational comedy for more than twenty years. Mary is increasingly working to unite her two worlds by exploring the humorous side of philanthropy in workshops and small group settings.
“My vote for keynote speaker at the GMN Annual Conference would have to go to … Albert Einstein. Why Einstein? Well – sometimes in performing my duties as a grants manager, I think one would have to be a genius in order to figure out some of the information supplied by grant seekers (especially when it comes to project budgets and other financial documents). Not to mention the fact that I have encountered logic models that parallel statistical mechanics in terms of their complexity. I also believe that the laws of relativity could be applied to grantmaking, as in: no grant is ever created or destroyed in a vacuum – the formula for effective grantmaking includes the efforts of both program officers and grants managers viewing the process from their own unique perspectives. Lastly, it is often reported that Einstein had a fabulous sense of humor – yet another trait that any grants manager would benefit from possessing!”
Besides….this picture would look great in a program brochure. What grants manager hasn’t felt this way from time to time?”
Dee Slater is the Grants Manager at the Dekko Foundation in Kendallville, Indiana. She’s an active GMN member and frequent contributor to the online community. What you may not know about Dee is that she also runs an online Stampin’ UP! business. She says, “It balances my grants manager process and analytical side with an outlet for creativity and connecting with other paper crafters.” And guess what else - she loves to zip line – who knew!
“I would ask Maria Montessori to be our keynote speaker. She developed an educational method in which one prepares the environment for learning. It is the teacher’s role that “guides the child's first endeavors in order to avoid wasted effort and the learning of wrong habits.” Similarly, GMN has prepared a learning environment for grants managers! By providing networking opportunities, the online community, and publications, GMN gives members the resources to avoid wasted efforts and flourish in their role as grants managers.”
Evan Jones, Grants Manager at the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation is a regular contributor to the GMN Online Community. When asked who he would invite to speak, Evan responded, “If I could invite any historical figure to be the keynote speaker at this year’s conference, it would have to be Benjamin Franklin. While better-known for his integral roles as inventor and statesman, Franklin was also among our nation’s first modern philanthropists. And like his other endeavors, he was far ahead of his time in conceptualizing the nature and role of philanthropy in our emerging society.
Franklin once said, “It is prodigious the quantity of good that can be done by one man if he will make a business of it.” While the recent popularity of similar philanthropic concepts like Social Entrepreneurship might make Franklin’s words seem merely a trite statement of fact, it was a significant and insightful departure from the concept of Noblesse Oblige that dominated in his day. And while I can’t guess exactly what Franklin would say in his keynote address, I’m sure that his perspective on the evolution of American philanthropy – and indeed, the development of our nation as a whole – from the foundations laid during his time would be fascinating.
Sue Fulton has been at the Endowment for Health in Concord, New Hampshire for more than ten years; and as one of the Endowment’s first employees, set up its grantmaking and operating systems. Sue is currently a GMN Board member and served as Co-Chair of the 5th Annual Conference in Baltimore, so her perspective for a keynote speaker is particularly interesting.
“I would invite Eleanor Roosevelt to serve as the keynote speaker for the GMN 2011 Annual Conference, for what other human being has touched and transformed the existence of so manyto make the world a better place. As the First Lady following the Great Depression and an advocate of the New Deal, a series of economic programs passed by the U.S. Congress in response to the Great Depression, I am sure she would have advice to offer as we continue to recover from the recent economic downturn. Eleanor died in 1962, what would she think about our new technological age and how quickly we communicate with one another? Imagine Bill Gates and Eleanor Roosevelt, both extraordinary humanitarians, speaking on the same panel at our conference.”
The GMN Examiner Editorial Team
The GMN Examiner is published three times a year through the dedicated efforts of GMN members and volunteers.
Ericka Novotny – Co-Editor
Allison Gister – Co-Editor