By Jeff Walker, PhD, Director of Research, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Emily Glinert is a prospect identification analyst at the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA), which provides philanthropic support and engagement programming for the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison. She is also the president of Apra Wisconsin.
In this interview, Jeff Walker, director of research in UW-Milwaukee’s Development and Alumni Relations Office and former Apra Wisconsin president, asks Glinert to share how she first became involved with Apra, the unexpectedness of serving as a chapter president in 2020, her advice for those new to the profession and more.
Jeff Walker (JW): How did you originally learn about Apra International and Apra Wisconsin?
Emily Glinert (EG): When I started working at WFAA, my colleagues quickly introduced me to Apra, and I had the opportunity to attend both chapter meetings and Apra International events. My first Prospect Development conference was in 2016, in Nashville. It was a wonderful way to meet colleagues in the profession and to start learning the fundamentals of prospect research.
JW: Think back to your first Apra Wisconsin event. What was that like?
EG: The first chapter event that I remember was hosted by a health-based organization in Madison. Bond Lammey presented two sessions: one on portfolio reviews and another, with Carrick Davis, on advocacy. I was very nervous, but everyone was super friendly and welcoming. The host of that event became my teammate years later, and I have strengthened my relationships with many of the other attendees from that day. Apra Wisconsin did so much to help me when I was new to the profession, and I am happy to have the chance to give back in any way I can.
JW: Although it’s still relatively early in your term, what would you say are the unique rewards and challenges of serving as our chapter president right now?
EG: Like just about everyone, I was surprised and shocked by 2020. It did not go the way I thought it would; it certainly wasn’t what I had imagined for the first year of my presidency. It’s easy to come up with the challenges of leading in a pandemic, especially for a small chapter that doesn’t have as many resources as our larger peer groups. The hardest part for me was trying to gauge what our members most wanted and needed throughout the year. There was a lot of fatigue, due to the number of virtual meetings we were already having in our daily lives and the shifts in lifestyle that came with stay-at-home orders.
That being said, our members were willing to try out a few different ways of connecting virtually. The most memorable was probably a team trivia event in September using our newly acquired chapter Zoom account. Turnout was great and we were able to divide into several teams for some friendly competition. The trivia was Wisconsin themed and it was a lot of fun learning some new facts alongside our colleagues. Previous prospect research projects definitely came in handy as well when figuring out some of the answers! Our members are spread out throughout the state and this was a way of engaging members who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to attend.
2020 was also the first year of the Apra Great Lakes Symposium, where the Wisconsin chapter joined chapters from Illinois, Indiana and Michigan to create a week long virtual event. Being able to collaborate with other chapters gave our members the opportunity to learn from other Apra members without having to worry about travel or lodging costs.
In our planning for 2021 and beyond, we’re exploring lots of options for remaining engaged and connected. I appreciate all of the Apra Wisconsin members who have applied their amazing creativity to keep us learning and growing together, despite the uncertainties.
JW: Imagine that you meet a newbie researcher through an upcoming international or chapter event — someone who isn’t yet particularly engaged as a member. What would you say, to promote the idea of becoming more involved and, most importantly, volunteering?
EG: Apra members have so much knowledge to share! Getting involved is the best way to meet new people, to learn and to contribute to the greater prospect development community. Getting involved also makes conferences less intimidating. There’s always a familiar face somewhere in the crowd.
JW: Look ahead 10 years. It’s unlikely you’ll still be chapter president. What do you hope will be your favorite memories? How would you like others to remember your term(s)?
EG: It’s tough to imagine what the world will be like in 10 years. My favorite memories tend to focus on my wonderful colleagues, when we’ve exchanged ideas or tackled a challenge together. I hope I will look back on being chapter president very fondly. I would like others to remember my term as a time when the chapter remained strong, despite facing a global pandemic, and how we managed to stay connected through it all.
JW: Thank you, Emily. I know others will be inspired by your story.
EG: Thank you, too. I hope they will.
Emily Glinert has been a prospect identification analyst at the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association in Madison, Wisconsin, since January 2016. Prior to her work at WFAA, Emily was a corporate librarian in the Chicago area. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.linkedin.com/in/emilyglinert/.
Jeff Walker, PhD, has been the director of research in UWM’s Development and Alumni Relations Office since January 2011 and is also a longtime member of the Editorial Advisory Committee for Connections. Walker is a former Apra Wisconsin president and serves as an advisory board member. He is available via email@example.com, www.linkedin.com/in/jeffwalkerphd, and www.facebook.com/jeffwalkerphd.
Learn more about Emily and Jeff on the Connections Thought Leaders Page.