Time’s flying by!

So my third week at JDRF absolutely flew by, with it really only consisting of two and a half days.

I continued to work on T1D in the News every day, which still remains to be one of my favorite tasks.

I also submitted some notes I took while doing competitive research on other non-profit organization’s volunteer spotlight techniques. JDRF currently posts volunteer spotlights that feature notable, passionate volunteers that have significantly impacted JDRF. The communications department is looking to update and refresh how we put these spotlights together, so I was given the responsibility of checking out how other organizations do similar spotlights! It was pretty fun. I spent some time browsing websites of other non-profits and jotting down the features I thought were best about various spotlights.

In addition to T1D in the News and volunteer spotlight research, I helped Shawn with contacting people for permission to reprint charts from studies published in medical journals for use in our research progress reports. This was probably the scariest thing I have done thus far and let me explain why… JDRF uses charts and figures in our research progress reports to show donors how their money is being used to fund research in addition to how much progress our research has been making. These charts and figures often come from studies that are JDRF-funded but are published in other journals. Therefore, we need to get permission to use those charts and figures. Sometimes we get permission to do so, but only with a fee. Well, with JDRF being a non-profit organization (in fact, the non-profit organization that funded all of these research studies in the first place), Shawn asked if I could look into getting the fees waived, or at least decreased significantly. Oh boy!! I told her I would contact the woman who gave us the permission and fees and explain to her our situation and our request to waive the fees. It all sounds pretty simple, right? Well here’s the thing. Making phone calls kind of terrifies me. I don’t know why. I’m usually a pretty good conversationalist and communicator in person and in front of groups. But the idea of picking up a phone, dialing a number that belongs to someone I do not know, introducing myself and explaining why I’m calling, and then trying to “get my way” so to speak? It makes me so nervous!! Let’s just say it took me a good ten minutes to simply calm myself down and psyche myself into making this call.

I ended up leaving a message and giving the woman Shawn’s number.

Hahahahaha all that nervousness for nothing!

Aside from that nerve-wracking endeavor, Tuesday was pretty fun. JDRF hired a new Director of Public Relations, Christopher Rucas. We had a welcome lunch for him on Tuesday, much like the welcome lunch that was given for me, Hannah, and Jenni on our first day. He has a lot of experience and seems to be very good at what he does. I like him so far! Paige and I met with him to go over T1D in the News and how it can be improved, which is actually now something I am currently working on THIS week – improving the document itself and how it is compiled. It’s pretty interesting.

On Wednesday, like I mentioned earlier, I got to leave earlier to catch a plane back to Cleveland. My flight was scheduled for 6:29 pm and I allowed myself PLENTY of time to get through security, as I knew Newark Airport would be busier than Cleveland. Turns out it took me only 20 minutes to get through security, so I was left with 2-3 hours before my flight to wander the airport… or so I thought…

My flight ended up being delayed until ONE IN THE MORNING. Not. Fun. There were massive thunderstorms and long story short, our plane was coming from Florida and detoured to Baltimore because of the storms. And there in Baltimore it stayed until the weather was safe enough to fly to Newark. Which ended up being 1 in the morning apparently. I did, however, see many planes take off and land between the hours of 6:29 pm and 1:00 am… so not really sure why ours had to be delayed so long… But anyways. I got home safe and sound at 3 in the morning and promptly fell asleep. I was POOPED.

On the bright side, waiting for six hours at an airport gate provides some unique bonding experience. Especially with cute toddlers. I seem to be quite the kid magnet, as a few toddlers curiously were staring at me and trying to touch me as I sat behind them at the gate. I ended up making funny faces and playing with them for a little bit of time. It definitely brightened my evening 🙂 And then, the next morning at Lakeside, I woke up and came downstairs to Ellie, who walked over to me sticking her arms up in the air in the classic, “Pick me up, pick me up” position that toddlers love to do. I picked her up and she just snuggled right into me for a good five minutes. Ahhhhhhh, bliss. Family. Rest!

I won’t say a whole lot about my weekend on vacation, but I will share some pictures! It was a wonderful weekend, and I felt like I could’ve stayed at Lakeside forever. Matt got to come, too, which I loved SO much. We went to our first wedding together, experienced Lakeside together (we’ve both been long-time Lakesiders, but never met until this year), and had great family time together. All in all a great respite weekend in the middle of my internship experience in NYC 🙂

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Fourth of July parade

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The little diva

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She loves that camera lens

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Evan and Peepaw – mouths watering while waiting for Nagoya

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Ellie kept wanting me to pick her up 🙂

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Love his face!

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We went to our first wedding together!

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Glacial grooves on Kelley’s Island

Coming back to NYC was a bit strange for me after spending (almost) five days on vacation in my little-corner-of-heaven-Lakeside-home. Surrounded by people I loved, it was so hard to go back to a little room in NYC all alone. It took me a little while to adjust emotionally.

But now that I’m back, I’m ready to work some more! I went back to work on Tuesday, and let me tell you I was SLAMMED! I came back to about 20 emails and a handful of new projects to work on. It was a little bit overwhelming, but it was so fun to be so busy.

New projects:

  • Speakers Bureau
    • Paige was recently given the responsibility of overseeing the Speakers Bureau, a group of trained staff and volunteers who represent JDRF publicly and support fundraising efforts by conveying JDRF’s plan for a world without T1D by speaking at various JDRF events across the country and throughout the year.  (Donor development events, Walk kick-offs, pre-gala receptions, board meetings, outreach events, etc.)  Now that the Speakers Bureau is her responsibility, she’s asked for my help in listening to some past conference calls between the Bureau members (there’s 14 of them) so I can get a better idea of what the speakers need, how they can be supported, and how we can maximize their strengths and skills while they are at events.  I listened to three one-hour conference call recordings and learned a LOT. I learned about what the speakers love about JDRF, what they appreciate about being the Bureau, what they find challenging, where they need the most support, and most importantly, the ways we at National can best help them.  I think the Speakers Bureau is pretty fantastic; it’s a group of some phenomenal advocates and volunteers who are really passionate about JDRF and creating a world without T1D.  I would LOVE to hear one of them speak one day.
  • RIV Roster
    • RIVs are research information volunteers.  Most chapters have one or a few.  The job of the RIV is to share current diabetes research and provide updates on new diabetes technology being developed.  This involves monthly webinars with other RIVs to receive updated research information, messaging guidelines, and the latest JDRF news.  The RIVs then communicate this information to their Chapter and the public.
    • Paige is currently working on updating the RIV roster so she can identify any new RIVs that need to be oriented and trained.
    • That’s where I come in!  First I am going through our current list of RIVs and making sure that list matches up with the master list of chapters and branches.  Then we will be contacting all the chapters and branches that don’t have RIVs and asking them if they have recently hired any.  THEN we will be contacting the chapters and branches that DO have RIVs and making sure we have the right RIV on file for them.  Lots and lots of updating…
  • Condolence Acknowledgement Letters
    • During my first week at JDRF, I was given the opportunity to proofread and update the messaging on some acknowledgement letters.  A few more were added to that batch this week, including condolence acknowledgement letters.  These letters are sent out to the next-of-kin of people who have passed away and left a gift to JDRF in their will.  In the letter we express our condolences, gratitude, and information about JDRF to the family.  We also send a letter to the firm that deals with the deceased’s account.  I went through the letters and used our updated messaging guidelines to tweak some sentences here and there to make it consistent with our FY15 messaging.
  • Updating (and Improving) T1D in the News
    • I mentioned this briefly earlier, but JDRF recently hired a new Director of Public Relations, Christopher.  Paige and I met with him to tell him about T1D in the News, and he showed us some improvements we could think about making.  We’re going to meet next week after I draft up a sample document of the suggested improvements.
  • TypeOneNation Summit Conference Call and Feedback
    • Prior to this week, I had crafted a survey to send out to the ten TypeOneNation pilot chapters.  These ten chapters were the first chapters to receive Lilly funding of $15,000 to put on a TypeOneNation Summit, or conference.  I made a survey and sent it to the chapters to gather feedback about their Summit and our support.  After the survey results came in, Emily, Kady, and I all got on the phone with the chapters for a conference call to discuss the results and suggestions!  It was so interesting to be on a phone call with about a dozen people.  The chapters had great suggestions for next years Summits.  Emily and Kady focused on asking questions about how each chapter did their budgeting, as this was the first year we received funding from Lilly to put on a conference.  It’s important to have that budgeting information so we can potentially receive more funding in the future.  We hope to have twenty conferences next year (ten more than this year).

So with all these new projects and things to work on, Tuesday and Wednesday were relatively busy.  That came to a quick halt on Thursday, as most of the office was gone in DC for the One Walk conference.  JDRF is currently in the process of changing the Walk to Cure Diabetes to the JDRF One Walk.  This conference was put on for the chapters that are piloting the One Walk!  This meant, however, that the only people left in the Communications department this week were me, Paige, Shawn, and Paul.  It was so quiet!  And pretty un-busy in my case… Everyone was gone, so I didn’t have much to work on!  I continued working on T1D in the News, updating the Q&A document, taking notes on SB calls, and other miscellaneous to-dos.  But yesterday and today sure did go by more slowly than Tuesday and Wednesday did!

All in all, I’m ready for the weekend.  I am currently sitting at Grounded, a cafe in West Village that Paige told me about.  I’m ready for my “me” time… reading, journaling, and drinking a “honey bee latte.”  Mmmm…

Until next time!  Thanks for reading 🙂

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One thought on “Time’s flying by!

  1. Your writing is wonderful in that details are given for a good image of the workings in JDRF and for your human side shining. JDRF sounds like a great organization “running to catch the prize”. 🙂 Prayers are going along with it.

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