3/8/2017 0 Comments
How did I get here?
My first job out of college was at a medium sized non-profit in Boston. My starting hourly rate was less than I had made life guarding the summer before. I couldn’t have been happier to be there; it was exactly where I had wanted to be, and I was going to be doing something meaningful, something that would make a difference. I was sure I would work my way up the ladder, and I would be at the organization for years to come.
Less than a year later I was dusting off my resume....
I worked with wonderful people, my hours weren’t terrible, but I was already burnt out, and I realized that direct service was not the right fit for me. Throughout my twenties, I searched for a place where I could be my best self. Trying out for profit jobs, nonprofit jobs, and finally landing in graduate school for Broadcast Journalism at Boston University.
A leap of faith landed me in Fort Smith Arkansas for my first television job as a producer. I learned how to cut my teeth in one of the smallest media markets in the country. I wrote content; I edited, I organized my show, I made sure it all got on the air on time. About a year later I moved to Manchester, NH and began working for WMUR. Working in the news you learn how to process a lot of information and prioritize it all quickly so you can meet your deadlines. As a newscast producer, I was the manager of my show which made me responsible for every last detail. If a script was incorrect, if a live shot went wrong, if we missed a breaking news story it was up to me to figure out what happened and how we could avoid the same problem in the future. On the days when everything was falling apart at the seams, I made sure that viewers were never aware that something was wrong.
It was the greatest training ground I could have ever asked for in life. Every day was different, and I always had to be thinking several steps ahead. It was an effective way to learn how to juggle tasks, priorities, and personalities.
These skills were invaluable as I began my work as a public relations coordinator and later the Community Relations Director for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. I oversaw not only the communications for this statewide nonprofit, but I also helped build the organization's development program from the ground up.
Leaving the Coalition was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I knew I would miss the many colleagues and friends whom I worked with for many years. Mostly, I knew I would miss the work that meant so much to me, but it was time for a new challenge.
For years I would have conversations with colleagues from other nonprofits and small businesses who were wearing too many different hats. I would give them advice on how they could strengthen their communications and fundraising but what they needed was manpower, not advice. I decided to hang a shingle, and I haven’t looked back since. It has been a gratifying experience to work with my clients thus far, and I hope that I am fortunate enough to do so for years to come.
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Maureen McDonald is a communications and fundraising consultant living in New Hampshire. When she isn't helping her clients, she is busy being active with her husband Sean and their amazing two children Finn and Fiona.
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