Typical Tuesday with Allison Jones
Allison’s work is so much more than the work she is paid to do. In addition to her job as External Affairs Manager for Explore Schools, Allison writes a blog on the future of nonprofit leadership and is an active volunteer board member for the Young Nonprofit Professional Network (YNPN) NYC chapter. We interviewed Allison to hear what it’s like to balance all of her fascinating commitments and passions on a “typical Tuesday.”
Name: Allison Jones
City: Brooklyn, New York
Job: External Affairs Manager for Explore Schools
Allison, considering that you do so much, how would you describe your work?
I get money and get people hyped! Also known as fundraising and communications. At Explore I manage the organization’s fundraising and marketing initiatives and at YNPN-NYC I manage the blog and help out with other communications needs. But what I really do is share good news and help people put their passions into practice whether it is by making a donation or by landing a job at an organization they love.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to do the kind of work that you do?
I consider myself a natural connector: I love helping people get to the resources they need to take action. That’s important for someone who wants to do this kind of thing.
Great! So tell us about a Typical Tuesday.
6:30 AM - Rise and shine! I am a morning person so I usually fly out of bed and get ready for the day. I am a big believer in leisurely mornings: how I start my day determines how I’ll run my day.
7:00-7:30 AM - I cook breakfast and make coffee. There’s TV playing in the background (usually the morning news or a rerun of “The Office”). Because of my full schedule, breakfast is the best time for me to get updated on what’s going on in the world.
7:30-8:30 AM - After breakfast, I spend time online reading personal and professional development resources. My favorites are LearnVest, Michelle Martin, Penelope Trunk, Danielle LaPorte, and RamitSethi. I also read a lot of fashion and hair blogs :)
9:30-10:30 AM – I arrive at work in DUMBO, a small neighborhood nestled between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Aside from the beautiful view of Manhattan, my office is bright and I can’t help but feel inspired as soon as I walk in. I see pictures of our students on the walls reminding me that I am here to ensure that all children have access to the outstanding education they deserve. I also work with a team of 16 people who ROCK. When you work with people you love, you work even harder.
As soon as I get in, I plan my day. I start by opening Outlook and reviewing my MIT list: Most Important Things. For a boost, I have a Post-It on my wall that says: “Force of Intellect and Spirit of Generosity. Accomplish Something Every day.” The first sentence is from the Atlantic and refers to people who are brilliant and giving. The second sentence reflects what I need to do in order feel the day is done.
10:30-11:00 AM - Each week I send staff, teachers, board members, and parents a news roundup of links about education issues in NYC. I scour Gotham Schools for the latest education news but also look through the feeds of similar organizations on Facebook or Twitter to see what our larger community is buzzing about.
11:00-1:00 PM - I break up my projects early in the day to keep momentum. I might spend an hour working on a grant report, then an hour doing research to inform our organization’s communications plan.
1:00-2:00 PM - I have to admit, I’m not big on stepping away from my desk during lunch, except to go for a quick walk. I use this time to catch up on other work outside of my job. For instance, I might do some board work for YNPN-NYC, which includes reviewing a pitch a blogger has sent me, or connecting with a speaker for an upcoming event. After that, I start drafting my next blog post for my personal website on Millennials and nonprofit jobs. My best ideas come when I am at work!
2:00-4:30 PM - I dig into a key project on my MIT list. These days my afternoon work is related to Explore Schools’ tenth annual cocktail party. For this event, I’ll send acknowledgements to donors or meet with co-workers to review the program and next steps for engaging organization leadership.
4:30-6:30 PM - Sweat the small stuff. I like to end the day by taking care of small things. Send out mail, follow up emails, and make phone calls. Then I create my MIT list for tomorrow.
6:30 PM - Arrive home and cook dinner. I love to cook so it’s never a burden to prepare a meal. In fact, it signals to me that I am finally home.
7:30-10:30 PM - Eat while I work. I’ll revisit that blog post for my personal website that I started working on earlier in the day. I try to blog once a week so I can give myself time to write compelling content that is useful for my audience. I’ll also spend time pitching my blog ideas to online publications or responding to my readers.
In the evening, I also check my YNPN-NYC email to catch up on my board work. I also manage YNPN-NYC’s monthly newsletter, the Leadership Memo, so I’m likely emailing a young nonprofit leader to be featured in the upcoming issue!
And I text/call my siblings. I am the oldest out of six and family is important to me.
10:30-11:00 PM - Unwind. Finish last minute posts, emails, etc. Clean my apartment and think of clothes to wear for tomorrow. I also text or call my boyfriend.
11:00 PM - Bed time! I’ll have music playing or a movie playing in the background. Or “The Office.” I’m addicted to that show.
Allison Jones is a Brooklyn based blogger and advocate for millennial leadership in public service. She blogs at allisonj.org on the future of nonprofit leadership. Her work has been featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Daily News, and she has been invited to speak at Demos, NYU, Baruch College, and more.
Allison is able to combine her passion for communications and millennial leadership as a board member of the New York City Chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network where she manages the organization’s online engagement efforts. She is also the External Affairs Manager for Explore Schools, a nonprofit providing more than 1,000 students in Brooklyn with the outstanding education they deserve. When not working or blogging you can find Allison making a mess in her kitchen or spending time with her five younger siblings.
Even when our days and lives are full with work that moves us toward our purpose, there is always room to think about our next steps. Allison answered this week’s Work on Purpose question, what is your next step toward fulfilling your purpose? Join the conversation and reflect on one manageable step you could take in the next month to get closer to your purpose.
Connect with Allison on twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
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