No successful organization gets up and running and growing because of one person, or even two, three, or four people. It takes many individuals with a passionate commitment to making something important happen, and the drive and smarts to do whatever it takes to bring it to fruition.
One of the most important people in making this organization what it is today is Alyse d’Amico, who has worked in a variety of roles at CEP for eight years — and most recently, for the last two years, as Vice President — Programming, Communications, and Development.
I hired Alyse when we had just four staff. Today, we have more than 30 in two offices. Much of our success, especially when it comes to communicating about who we are and raising grant support for our work, is because of her. In a recent email to staff, I wrote that her current role:
…includes a tremendous range of responsibilities that she has been particularly, perhaps uniquely, well-positioned to handle. She leads all our promotional and marketing efforts, the Web site, the blog, the conference planning, media relations, and fundraising and reporting for some 40-plus funding relationships. In addition, she does a lot of work for and with me on high-priority, strategic initiatives — from Board related work to the strategic planning process. Finally, she has, by virtue of her history here and the number of roles she has had, an understanding of CEP’s work, history, and important relationships that no one else quite has. … She has accomplished a tremendous amount in this role and in the previous roles she has had since joining CEP in 2003. I couldn’t list it all if I tried: it runs the gamut from helping to raise tens of millions of dollars to presiding over the revamp of our Web site and creation – and editing – of our blog.
Alyse is an incredibly smart, creative, hard-working colleague and she is also someone who never makes it about her. Much of how we describe CEP — from our tag line to our efforts to promote our tools and marketing — are due to her creative ideas. But she would never tell you that.
Research we had conducted by a third-party firm during our planning process indicated that this work had paid off: that we have an incredibly strong reputation and clear identity among our audience. People know what we stand for, and this is largely a result of Alyse’s work. But she wouldn’t tell you that, either.
Most of the reports CEP has produced over the years, and virtually everything I have written, Alyse has edited or help write. But she wouldn’t tell you that, either.
So this is the part where you expect me to say Alyse is leaving CEP. But, thank goodness, she is not. However, Alyse approached me just after the holidays to ask if she could transition to a different, part-time role at CEP to allow her to spend more time with her two-year old son. As I wrote in my email to the staff here:
We had a series of good discussions about this and have decided that, effective in the late spring or early summer, she will move into a new, part-time role: Special Assistant to the President and Director of Development. This role, which is one she suggested and which made tons of sense to me, essentially carves out all the work she currently does with me related to writing, staffing the Board and its committees, and driving projects that cut across the organization — as well as all the fundraising work. She will continue to be a member of the Senior Staff … indeed, she’ll have to in order to be effective in her role. …
Meantime, we will open a search for a Director of Communications. …. The Director of Communications (who would also oversee programming) would also be a member of the Senior Staff and would manage the staff who currently report to Alyse.
The Director of Communications will report to me and will be a crucial new addition to the CEP team. I hope readers of this blog will help me and CEP by spreading the word about this opportunity.
Phil Buchanan is president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy.