826CHI is currently seeking applicants for a Development Manager. This week we sat down with beloved 826CHI Development Manager Ola Faleti, to reflect on her three years being a pivotal member of the 826CHI development department. This is Ola's last week at 826CHI, and while it's hard to see her go, we are excited to cheer her on from the sidelines as she tackles her next mission: working with an independent consulting firm, Aim & Arrow.
1. What brought you to 826CHI, and how long have you been here?
I came to 826CHI in 2015 as a volunteer. I started working here in February 2017.
2. What's one achievement you've accomplished here that you're particularly proud of?
The organization has grown a lot since I’ve started. We expanded with many crucial staff positions, totally restructured one of our programs to serve more students in their communities, and has worked towards a board and staff that reflects the students we serve. I’m proud to have contributed towards 826CHI’s financial stability, which made all of those things possible.
3. Can you describe a favorite day you've had on the job?
I don’t think I have a favorite day, really! There are so many. But one that sticks out is 826 Day in 2017. We were all on the rooftop of Ace Hotel with students, their families, alums, volunteers, past and present staff, donors...it was a really beautiful conglomeration of the village that makes 826CHI’s work possible.
4. What is something you're going to miss about 826CHI?
I am going to miss the people - specifically staff and students from Teen Writers Studio - so much. I have learned more things than I can say from all of them. It’s been an honor to work and think among such brilliant and talented individuals.
5. Do you have any advice for candidates applying to join the development team at 826CHI? What disposition and expectations should this person bring to their work?
First, read some student writing! That’s really the best intro into our work. 826CHI is an inherently innovative and adaptive place, so I’d say candidates should prepare to be flexible, learn a lot, and consider fundraising and philanthropy in a much more community-centric way than is typical. I sense a lot of big change ahead for 826CHI, so someone who is excited to be part of an ever-changing place would be a great fit.
6. What’s next for Ola Faleti?
I’m moving on to an independent consulting firm, Aim & Arrow, that works with local nonprofits (several of which are education orgs) to problem solve and pivot in light of the pandemic. My time at 826CHI has prepared me well for what’s next!