Off Résumé: The Nonprofit World’s Talents and Accomplishments Outside of Work

Monday, August 21st, 2017 - Resume

Changing the world is hard work.

So nonprofit employees unwind in many ways during their off hours. They run or sing. They tend bar or perform aerial acrobatics. They write plays, build boats, or host a regular game of Dungeons & Dragons.

We asked you how you spend time outside of work, about your accomplishments and side gigs. The answers we received via email and our online form were as varied and surprising as the nonprofit world itself.

Below are just some of the interesting lives your peers lead outside of day-to-day work. If you want to share your hobby, post it in the comments below.

Soulful Side Gig

Hayling Price, a senior consultant at the nonprofit advisory firm FSG, is also a recording engineer and producer for soul and R&B acts in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Price also plays keyboards in Columbia Nights, a D.C.-based “soultronic” band that blends live instruments with electronic production. Their album In All Things is in stores and on Spotify.

Recreating History

Beth Miller, executive director at the Creative Education Foundation in Scituate, Mass., is working on a play based on a paper she wrote in college about the dramatic true story of how a Connecticut girls’ school desegregated in 1833. An Education in Prudence will debut in February 2018 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boston.

“This is a very public culmination for my love of archival research — particularly in finding the lost and often uncelebrated stories of women and people of color,” Ms. Miller wrote.

The playwright Ms. Miller is collaborating with, by the way, is Stefan Lanfer, director of communications at the Barr Foundation in Boston.

Staying Afloat

Aaron Mihaly

Aaron Mihaly, another senior consultant at FSG, constructs wooden boats. His first was a 16-foot canoe built by bending strips of cedar. His current challenge is a 17-foot “lapstrake” sailboat.

“For someone with a job working all day with intangible concepts like social impact and cross-sector collaboration, it’s refreshing to work with something so tangible, where you can see and feel the progress you make,” he wrote.

A Roll of the (Ten-Sided) Dice

Kirk Schmidt, president of the nonprofit consulting firm Darkvision Analytics, is the “dungeon master” for a monthly game of Dungeons & Dragons.

As dungeon master, he creates the details and challenges of each month’s game and ties its narrative together — or, as he puts it, “I engage in storytelling with a few friends, controlled by their actions and the rolls of dice.”

Creating a Buzz

Theresa Gehringer

Theresa Gehringer, a research assistant and doctoral student at the Center for Philanthropy Studies at the University of Basel in Switzerland, keeps an urban beehive on the rooftop of a large school complex. She and a friend began by replacing the school’s retiring beekeeper, and she’s now finishing her two-year training in beekeeping.

She says she loves the honey — and eats more than the average person — but the hives also connect to her studies.

“A beehive is a vivid example that in fact every single bee, and every little philanthropic commitment, is an important element to manage the urgent challenges we face in the 21st century,” she wrote in an email. “No matter how small our contribution is, it matters.”

Tracy Green


The Long Run

Tracy Green, director of development at the Louisville Free Public Library Foundation, is a competitive marathon runner hoping to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials. She’s currently training for her 13th marathon and is part of a development program for emerging elite athletes.

“Marathon training and racing is a lot like fundraising,” she wrote in an email. “Sometimes you get told no — things don’t go your way — and you just have to pick yourself up, figure out what you did wrong, and try again.”

The Even-Longer Run

Buddy Teaster, CEO of the international shoe-distribution charity Soles4Souls, likes to go a little farther.

He’s completed 60 ultramarathons, including 17 100-mile races. That includes the Hardrock 100 in Colorado, a mountainous 100.5-mile race that includes elevation changes totaling 66,000 feet. It took him a little more than 45 hours to finish.

His favorite outing sounds equally extreme.

“My favorite run, not a race, was with a group of friends in the Grand Canyon that’s informally called the ‘rim to rim to rim,’ which is the South Rim to the North Rim and back in a day,” Mr. Teaster says. “Spectacular in every way.”

Suzanne Mink

Going for the Gourd

Suzy Mink, a senior philanthropic adviser at Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., creates intricate pumpkin carvings. She discovered she had a knack for it more than a decade ago, using a store-bought template, and taught herself from there.

Her dozens of designs include the Lincoln Memorial, Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream,” and a portrait of Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer.

Here, Ms. Mink’s self portrait in pumpkin.

Last Call

Virginia Anderson, head of fundraising at cerebral-palsy charity Bobath Scotland, does occasional shifts as a bartender — or “barmaid,” in Scottish parlance. It started with a request from a bar-owning friend to help out one evening; she ended up regularly working Sunday nights for two years and now pitches in as needed.

She says lessons for fundraising can be found in the bar: the value of face-to-face communication, the importance of good service, the power of care and gratitude.

“Everyone deserves our courtesy and attention as they make our work possible,” she says.

See photos of more hobbies in the slide show below.

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