A Fond Farewell
I never thought I would find myself writing this blog post, but here I am. I am saying goodbye to a team (NGPF) and community (you!) that welcomed me with open arms over four years ago. Many of you have become like my second family. Your emails just to say hi, friendly chat box comments, and smiling faces during FinCamps, VPDs and conferences always brightened my day.
In my final blog post, I thought it would be appropriate to let you in on some of the magic that is NGPF!
- Not a secret, but it needs to be said, Tim and Jessica are the absolute powerhouses behind the NGPF magic!
- Tim’s natural talent is setting big goals. Like really big goals - organize a conference with 3 months’ notice, organize and facilitate FinCamps in all 50 states in 1 school year, facilitate 50,000 hours of online PD in 3 months. I could keep adding to this list, but I know you know what I mean - after all, you receive the NGPF emails that announce our next greatest scheme with remarkable frequency!! Tim’s ability to set (and lead the team to achieve) big, hairy, audacious goals, encourages innovation, collaboration, and means NGPF is never resting on its laurels.
- Jessica, as the queen of organization, uses her analytical and process-oriented style to allow the NGPF to take on the large goals that Tim dreams up, and execute in bite-sized chunks. Somehow she manages to be across all that NGPF does (which, with a team of 15 people, is a lot!) and is a champion at considering a proposal or issue from the lens of an educator. Jessica’s frequently professed method of ‘sharpening the saw before cutting down the tree’ assists team members in considering how and why they’re innovating, rather than just jumping straight in!
- Asana is NGPF’s secret weapon.
- Actually, scratch that, NGPF Interns are NGPF’s secret weapon! They write answer keys, approve teacher accounts, create gifs, and provide an insight into the world of high school and college-aged students. A special mention here to Ren, who interned both as a high school student and college student, and is now a full-time NGPF employee. He understands NGPF in a way no one else does and is always thinking about process improvement (or as he puts it, how he can do less work!). I’m sure he’ll thank me for mentioning it, but if you have a question that is tough to explain over email, select a time to Ask Ren Anything over a video call!
- The last not so secret item, that many of you have commented on over the years, is that as a team we legitimately like each other. These people who I have had the pleasure of calling colleagues for the past 4+ years are also friends. They push me to be better and bring out the best not only in my work performance but also as a person. They embody a ‘can do’ attitude and when working with such a small team, that’s exactly what you need. Great people who bring their ‘A-Game’ each day, who are willing to help out at the drop of a hat, and who readily share their knowledge and expertise.
Looking back, my time at NGPF feels like a whirlwind. I’m fortunate to have traveled to meet so many of you in person and to get a glimpse into the magic of your cities and states. I leave the USA with a greater appreciation of the diversity of the country, the beauty of the National Parks, and the bond that educators everywhere share - your passion for your students and their learning drives you to continually go above and beyond.
What’s next you ask? In this unprecedented year of social distancing, travel restrictions, and living life online, my husband and I have also welcomed our first child, Owen, to the world. With him and our family members in mind, we’ve decided to return to Australia to spend more time with family. While I’m still working out what comes next for me professionally, it’s safe to say that I’ll be continuing to work in education to increase access to high-quality education.
I’ll be continuing to champion NGPF’s efforts from afar - and fair warning, you’re likely to find me in a VPD or two, continuing to learn from this great community.
Best wishes to each and every one of you,
About the Author
After graduating with an education degree and spending 7 years in an elementary classroom, Laura made the switch to the non-profit world and loves interacting with students, educators and business professionals across the country. She is passionate about all students having access to high quality education and views personal finance education as one way to ‘level the playing field’. When Laura is not locating or creating high quality educational resources, you can find her mountain biking or searching for the best ramen in town!
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