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How Did I Get Here?

I have the great pleasure of meeting Grant Professionals from across the country at a number of venues throughout the year. The most immersive of these opportunities is at the GPA Annual Conference each year. I often ask people how they found GPA or how they got involved in grants. What I find most fascinating about these conversations is the wide variety of backgrounds and experience of GPA members and other Grant Professionals.

I hear the stories of how many of you who have come to be part of the GPA family found themselves thrust into this career and found GPA by accident or through a friend. Even though people take many different paths, I often hear a common theme of a desire to make a lasting impact for people everywhere, your neighbors, those in your community, and those around the world served by your organization through grants.

The GPA Headquarters' staff operates in a similar fashion to make an impact on our world by supporting the effective, ethical work of Grant Professionals. One of the staffs' strategic plan priority action items is for GPA to develop a new comprehensive marketing plan to spread the word about GPA and the grant profession. A key piece to the development of this plan is to identify the audiences we need to communicate with and engage through this plan. This has been one of our biggest challenges, as there is currently no undergraduate degree program in grantsmanship, and as I know from my conversations with you, there is no one path to becoming a Grant Professional. So we are faced with searching high and low to get the word out about GPA and the profession. We are working to change that to be more focused to find  Grant Professionals to let them know they have a home with GPA, a community that understands their challenges and knows how to celebrate their successes and is a voice for the profession.

Recently, GPA Vice President Amanda Day, GPC, posted on Twitter (@wholewheatgirl) requesting Grant Professionals to respond with their story of when they discovered they had become a Grant Professional by filling in the blank to this statement: “I knew I was a Grant Professional when ______.” We would love to know when you discovered you were a Grant Professional and how it has impacted your career. You can join the conversation on Twitter (@GPANational or @GPA_CEO) or add your story in the comments section below.