Projects and Conversations

I have had a good amount of work to do so far this summer. The biggest project I have worked on independently (which is ongoing) is an interview project with residents at one of our properties, New Clay House. I have used a template of questions put together by VSH’s consultant, Elizabeth, and adapted it as I have completed more and more interviews. I ask them about their backgrounds before coming to live at New Clay – both before and while experiencing homelessness – and how things have changed as a result of being housed. After the interview, I draft the notes I took into a story (roughly 300-500 words), and send them back to Elizabeth for edits. In the edits she has sent me so far, they have been mainly tweaks – removing sentences that confuse more than clarify, or adding details that flesh the bones out a bit more. These “Stories of Hope” will be available for use in a variety of ways for Mission Advancement, from newsletters and donor appeals to the Annual Report. I’m glad that I’m able to undertake such a key project for Mission Advancement, one that full time employees have not been able to do mainly due to the time it takes to conduct the number of interviews I have done so far. 

One interesting dynamic I have noticed is that Jonathan, the administrative assistant I mentioned in an earlier reflection, will often cede “leadership” to me in a situation that neither of us is particularly in charge of. In one example, we have been hanging framed photos around the office to personalize it more, and Jonathan kept saying “you’re the boss” when it came to making any type of decision (how high to hang/how many per wall/etc), when this was a project that Chris assigned to both of us. While yes, I found the pictures in the Shared drive for us to use, I had no particular control over any hanging decision. I can’t tell why he does this – if he’s trying to “empower” me as an intern, or if my willingness to contribute in various situations has conveyed a desire for a leadership role, or for some other reason. But I have noticed that I am willing to share about the work I’ve been doing or suggestions I have in different meetings or in conversations. For example, in a Mission Advancement team meeting with Chris, Jonathan, and Elizabeth, I talked about my interview project and mentioned insights I gleaned from the work. In another example, after I found the photos for the decorating project, I told Chris the Shared drive was a mess, prompting him to ask me to reorganize it. I have appreciated feeling like my voice matters and that the work I am doing is valuable and important, which has definitely prompted a positive feedback cycle in terms of encouraging me to speak up more.

One thought on “Projects and Conversations

  • July 25, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    It’s sort of strange why your colleague has decided to cede leadership to you, as you continue you may unravel that more. Glad to learn more about your interview project here and to learn that you’ve had the chance to share insights you’ve gained with your colleagues. It sounds like you’ve been able to contribute in meaningful ways and that the work you’re doing is engaging and substantive.

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