Yesterday, I accepted a new job with my current employer, Lynchburg College. The new title, associate vice president for development and alumni relations (AVDAR), is more than a mouthful, and I shudder at how that’s going to work on a business card. But at the end of the day, it means I triple the number of people reporting directly to me, and it puts me squarely in the path of our entire donor cultivation and stewardship process.
I relish the opportunity, and as much as anything, I feel compelled to excel because of the degree of responsibility with which I have been entrusted. Its interesting though, because I have been quite interested in folks’ reactions to the news, which broke yesterday.
Most have been congratulatory, to a surprising extent even, but I haven’t decided whether the frequent refrain, “you deserved it,” is praise or damnation. Many have seemed truly welcoming of my increased involvement in the college’s fundraising efforts.
I guess much of what is ahead for me, the folks who will depend on me for guidance and leadership, and the donors and prospects, depends on how well I deliver the message of, and build trust in my vision. It may be scary for some, but its, inarguably, the opportunity for me to put my money where my mouth is.
As skills go, I believe I have what it takes: understanding of relationship management, deep experience in alumni relations and university administration, great working relationships throughout the community, solid public relations experience, and enough battle scars to have thickened my skin to bear most of the oncoming “input” bystanders love to give. I will also get to truly test and sharpen the leadership skills others say are so clearly present within.
I also now have the opportunity to see whether my belief in teamwork, valuing every perspective, and decisive action based on broad input can be applied to an extremely diverse set of jobs and personalities.
I also know, perhaps most importantly, the knowledge I need to gain far overpowers what I already know. Humility not being my strongest trait, this new experience will be solid antidote for that.
The next chapters remain to be written, but I like the odds. Game on.