Making Lemonade in February

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

It's February, and we're making lemonade. That's what you do when you're handed lemons, right?

Early last fall, we learned that four of our twelve staff members would be departing for new and exciting endeavors (almost all going to work for our own member organizations).  While I was genuinely pleased that Jason, Katy, Beeta and Nadia were moving on to amazing opportunities, I was momentarily panicked by the loss.  But then I got to thinking, "Wow, with all these staff openings at once, this is the perfect time to reconsider our best staffing model for the services we will be providing into the future."

I turned to the Executive Committee, along with Michael and Kristen, and together we mapped out a new staffing structure that we think will produce both greater efficiencies and higher performance in key areas. 

With the VP of Membership and CFO leaving at the same time, we realized that combining some of the functions of those two positions into a Chief Operations Officer role would make the most sense.

At the same time, Michael Remaley's title changed to Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Communications to clarify that there are two senior management positions reporting directly to me.  Kristen Ruff was promoted to Senior Director, Member Services and will report to the new COO. This allowed us to also create a new Controller position, which has become even more crucial as we increase our fiscal sponsor services for member-supported initiatives.

I hope you will join me in welcoming our Chief Operations Officer, Kathryn O'Neal-Dunham; our Controller, Shanqua Harrison; and our Member Services Manager, Allyson Goldhagen.

Kathryn will direct the day-to-day activities of Philanthropy New York, including the work of our Finance & Administration, Membership and Learning Services departments. She will work with me and our executive team to shape and carry out our strategic operations, including the move to our new offices in 2015. Kathryn is quite familiar with us, having previously worked at PNY member organizations the Macquarie Group Foundation and the United Way of New York City. She is also a trustee of Inwood House, which provides sex education and maternal health care for teens here in New York City.

Shanqua will manage PNY's daily accounting systems, audit, tax return, fiscal sponsorships and investments. Shanqua previously served as Controller for the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation for 8 years, and is very active in community service, working with the Queens graduate chapter of her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, to support local New Yorkers who are interested in starting their own businesses, and serving as board treasurer for the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning and the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.

Allyson will join us in March from Associated Grant Makers in Boston, where she helps develop member programs and funder networks. She will manage our new Salesforce database and work with our staff and our Members Committee on our recruitment and retention activities. Allyson graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in International Affairs and Human Services and has traveled to Egypt, Syria, and India to research economic development, civil society and women's rights as a tool for democratic change.

We look forward to the new skills and fresh perspectives that Kathryn, Shanqua and Allyson will bring to Philanthropy New York. They are all looking forward to working with you. I encourage you to contact them.  

Please join me in raising my glass of lemonade to welcome our new staff!

Best Regards,