TRUST, RESPECT, ETHICS, GROWTH
Much earlier in my career as a grant professional, I wrote and managed grants for a Drug Free Communities Coalition. One of our evidence-based programs was Parenting Wisely©. As someone who managed the budgets, wrote the reports, and gathered data for the coalition, I was familiar with the program materials. One lesson from a Parenting Wisely© class has stuck with me over the years, and I have related it to other work I have done whether in my personal life, conducting strategic planning sessions, or managing other grants. It was a powerful lesson in professionalism for me, and I want to share it with you as we look forward to celebrating International Grant Professionals Week and Day.
In the class, the facilitator asked participants to name the qualities of their least favorite boss. As you can imagine, the list contained words like rude, selfish, impatient, liars, disrespectful, didn’t include me in decisions, expected me to know what he was thinking, didn’t communicate, yelled, didn’t care, etc. Then, the facilitator asked the same parents to describe their favorite boss. Those descriptions were kind, compassionate, understanding, inclusive, patient, respectful, my advocate, a role model, someone I could count on, etc.
The facilitator then asked, “What kind of boss would your children say you are?” The room became silent. Some parents cried, others laughed. As the silence became too much, they suddenly realized the meaning of the exercise.
I carry that lesson with me to this day. It still informs my decision-making. Early in my career, I was also blessed to have great mentors who emulated professionalism. Now, when I choose clients, colleagues to work with, or make any other decision related to this profession, I practice the same high standards I learned.
For me, professionalism is about putting my clients needs first, doing more than expected, and never accepting “fine”. (That last one drives my husband crazy!) My goal is to be ethical at all times, keep a smile on my face, communicate effectively, and respect confidentiality. It’s important that I be a lifelong learner and give back because putting my best foot forward is the way I want to represent myself and my profession.
So, how would people describe you as a grant professional?
This article was written by Cyndi for Grant News for the GPA.