Perspectives from an Interim Vice President for Advancement
Interim Vice President for Advancement
University of Saint Francis (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
[Editor’s Note: This article is one of a five-part series presented in this Special Issue, which offers perspectives from Registry interims serving amidst the ongoing pandemic.]
I started in September at University of Saint Francis as the Interim Chief Advancement Officer. As usual, there was much learning to do right away. I had to become familiar with the campus’s COVID-19 guidelines and procedures; I had to learn who was working remotely and who was in the office; and I had to learn how our meetings would work—were we meeting via Microsoft Teams or in person, wearing masks?
Because of the challenges presented by the pandemic, I had to find answers to questions I never asked before. How do I get to know my team when we are meeting online? How do I get to know my colleagues when I cannot see their faces? What are our protocols if one if us is exposed to the virus? We have a brand-new President, Fr. Zimmer, who people want to meet, but there are barriers to in-person meetings. So, how can we most effectively form those critical relationships when you we cannot host events or travel?
Prior to my arrival, the advancement team was asked to prepare their goals for the interim VP. I used that information during our initial staff meetings to get to know them better. The Human Resources Department provides excellent online resources available to help us navigate exposure to the virus. We have identified safe ways for Fr. Zimmer to meet with trustees and donors in person with those who are able, and a call list for him to meet with those who cannot. We have expanded the President’s written communications to include three e-newsletters that target specific groups of constituents, as well.