Meet the Specialists

We are proud to report that our project satisfaction survey conducted independently and confidentially by Professor Jeff Prottas revealed that 92 percent of projects are satisfied with the new project specialist model. Thank you for being patient as we worked out the kinks in transitioning to this new way of supporting your work. We look forward to serving our projects even better in 2016 as we continue to learn how to support your needs yet meet our legal responsibilities as a fiscal sponsor.  A trusting relationship and open communication between projects and their specialists is vital to the success of our partnership.  Some specialists have been on the team for years, but may be new to you. Others joined us last year and bring a new depth of experience to our team. We hope you will take a moment to get to know them beyond their professional bios.

Laura Smith
As a theatre director, podcast passionista, nonprofit professional, and a true believer in fiscal sponsorship, Laura is deeply inspired by CI’s tagline: “In Service to Great Ideas.” Similar to the broad and extensive range of podcasts she listens to, Laura is excited that she doesn’t have to choose only one cause to focus on — she loves the opportunity to work with a “broad spectrum of change agents” who are dedicated to creating equity, opportunity, and justice.

Laura thinks of the nonprofit world as a community rather than a sector, which makes it easy to be passionate about this work. She considers people who care deeply about “great ideas” to be the best collaborators, thought partners, and co-workers, which clearly points to her approach working with fiscally sponsored projects. Laura is fascinated by leadership programs, facilitating equal access and opportunity, and how the arts are crucial to any social change movement.

Back to what fuels her during commutes – podcasts – let Laura know what interests you, and she will recommend one!

Andrea Aguilar
A San Francisco native and Giants fan, Andrea is passionate about many things, people, and her 11-year old Westie named Lucky. Other passions and people include: the arts, the individuals who bring ideas and solutions alive to benefit communities, Crossfit, her Alma Mater University of Arizona, and music.  Oh, and Gummy Bears!

She is inspired most by those who want to make an impact on the world and who have the tenacity and drive to succeed. What greater place to see and participate in the dynamic world than San Francisco? Andrea clearly is energized by the living, breathing art scene in her native city. Her work with CI and as a Specialist is a natural fit; it immerses her even deeper in a city she knows so well and allows her to advocate for its people.

Ly Nguyen
Ly started running in 2010 and she hasn’t stopped: not even when she traded in the generally flat terrain of east coast cities for the hills of San Francisco! She has participated in over 50 races in recent years and perhaps running is a metaphor for her project management approach: starting with a vision of the finish line, she enjoys putting the “nitty gritty” details into motion and keeping the momentum going to achieve success. This is her approach to partnering with projects as a Specialist; she enjoys and thrives on the process.

Ly considers getting paid to do something for the greater good a good deal and she enjoys the camaraderie and shared drive, purpose, and passion that comes with teaming up with a group of like-minded individuals. She is particularly passionate about equal access to education, civic engagement, and advocating on behalf of women and girls.

Amanda Grace Scheper
Amanda is a passionate activist within the prisoner rights/anti-prison movement and has a deep appreciation for the #blacklivesmatter and trans queer liberation movements. Whether it is in the form of nonprofit initiatives or independent activism for a cause, she is invested in seeing people who are most impacted by injustice in leadership positions within social justice movements and beyond. With her background in direct service work that grew into a leadership position, she is well equipped to approach her work as a Specialist from different angles, thanks to her rich experience.

An “urban animal appreciator,” Amanda is intrigued by pigeons and their incredible capabilities, intelligence and survival skills. She cites as an example that pigeons’ navigational abilities are so intricate that humans have yet to figure out how they do what they do. There are many more observations and facts about these fascinating creatures – just ask Amanda!

Susan Staley
Susan nailed her first nonprofit job interview by making her interviewers laugh with this line: “I want to work here because I think I should do something good while I’m still young and idealistic.” She reports feeling lucky that her idealism is still intact 16 years later — and CI is lucky too!

Susan is passionate about what makes people’s lives healthier, happier, and more fulfilled through education, social justice, access to healthy foods, the arts, mental health services, and many other angles. With her diverse background and skill set, Susan sees her role as a Specialist as an opportunity to share her knowledge and build lasting relationships.

When not enjoying suburban life in the San Diego area where she lives and works and gets to go to the beach almost year-round, she does enjoy her treks to the office in San Francisco and walking to work through a variety of neighborhoods.  In her free time, Susan loves exploring wilderness areas, in particular Joshua Tree National Park.

Posted January 19, 2016 in General

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