Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A day in the life of a nonprofit worker

1. What is your name, organization and job title (you don't have to give your name/organization if you don't want to- it can be anonymous)
Krista Francis, Director of Human Resources at Jubilee Association of Maryland (@jubileehr). We provide residential and related services to adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Our office is in Kensington, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC. I love my job and I’ve been there 9 years. When my boss is away, I am Acting Executive Director, so my life is busy.

2. What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?
I wish I could give a more inspiring answer, but I delete all the spam the junk folder missed! While my computer is waking up, I go make coffee if it’s not already perking. I check in with my early arriving co-workers, Shannon and Aarti. J A few minutes of peace and relationship-building before the phone starts ringing! We empty the dishwasher together and catch up on our lives.

3. How do you spend your lunch break?
I often get soup from the Kensington Market down the street. I might eat in the kitchen with co-workers or meet my hubby for a picnic in the beautiful park down the street. Probably two days are working lunches of one kind or another. If I eat at my desk, I check twitter or work on a blog post.

And once a month, I make it a point to get together with my HR friends from other agencies. Feels so good to get out and connect with them!

4. Which part of your work do you enjoy most?
Recruiting and onboarding, absolutely. I love connecting the best candidates to our positions and helping them transition into their new jobs.

I also love the positive influence I have on our culture, our policies, our practices, our staff. I love working at an amazing, reputable firm and hiring amazing talent that will continue the legacy.

Finally, I love the variety and diversity in my duties and knowing that every day I make a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities.

5. Please finish this sentence: If someone wanted my job, they would have to…..
Learn how to keep secrets. Be discreet. Multi-task. Give people bad news. Think both strategically and long-term. Be detail-oriented and have good follow-through. Broker deals. See both sides. See the forest and the trees. Connect with the mission and vision of the company until it becomes your own.

6. What advice or tips do you have for other nonprofit professionals in your position?
Stay on top of the trends in both human resources and your specific industry. Don’t get complacent.

Strive to be the best. Quality attract quality, which attracts more quality.

Connect with others. Human resources is a hard profession and it is easy to feel isolated and alone. Your co-workers don’t understand what you do and they have no concept of the demands on your time and psyche! Talking to, tweeting, e-mailing and meeting other HR people makes all the difference. Reach out and get to know each other. Share information, generously share your resources and best practices.

Continue to learn and grow. Money is always tight in nonprofits, but be creative so that you can attend conferences and seminars. Get outside your agency. Mentor young folks. Pass on your expertise. Experiment with social media. Do something new.

I am looking for new nonprofit workers to be featured. If you want to share a day in your life, please email me -