Ohio Prospect Research Network
Established 1987 - Apra Ohio Chapter

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  • May 11, 2022 11:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Regina Alhassan, Owner, ResearchPRO

    What was your first job?           

    Lab Assistant for The Ohio State University Department of Animal Science assisting research studies on dairy cows. There was lots of lab work which aligned with my coursework and I absolutely loved it. There was also lots of field work, capturing bio samples live and in-person at dairy farms and the Select Sires bull farm. As a city girl, that was all very new to me and I didn’t enjoy the cow pastures so much. But, I have some great memories and amazing stories to tell! 

    Do you have any side hustles?

    Does Motherhood count??

    What piece of advice would you give to yourself at the beginning of your career?

    Take the leap and believe that you can do anything you can imagine – and more.

    What’s your favorite thing about what you do or where you work?

    I love working from the comfort of my home. And, I’ve invested in creating a workspace that suits my exact needs, wants, moods, and comforts. I enjoy that the remote nature of our work as prospect development professionals allows me to partner with organizations all over the United States. I’m able to select the causes, the missions, the leadership teams that I want to support. It’s so fulfilling and humbling to know that I’m contributing to real impact in an array of communities all over. That’s deeply satisfying.

    What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

    I could give a presentation on how to launch and grow your own prospect development business from just a dream to a profitable enterprise. I’d share insights I learned, challenges I encountered, pitfalls to avoid, and best practices to align with success. I’m passionate about showing my prospect development colleagues how to take control of their income and career trajectory.         

    What are you reading now?

    A Wealthy Girl by Charisse Conanan Johnson, CFA

    Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port

    Where’s the next place on your travel bucket list and why?

    In a few short weeks, my family is headed to a beach getaway in Virginia. The seven year old and I are literally counting the days and can hardly wait to spend a week with the ocean as our neighbor!

  • April 27, 2022 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Meet Dave Smittle. He’s speaking at the 2022 Conference: Is It Time to Consider a New Advancement CRM System?

    Dave Smittle, Senior Consultant, Strata Information Group

    How did you get into fundraising and/or prospect research?

    While working for Huntington, the desktop personal computer debuted. I was back on campus for homecoming and struck up a conversation with the university president telling him about my work and saying I was looking for a job in the area because the teaching market was too tight in central Ohio and we were about to be engaged; my future wife had a teaching job nearby. He called on Monday and said we need someone who knows something about “those” (desktop PCs—wow, I just really dated myself there…) So, I got the job and relocated to NW Ohio in 1987.

    What piece of advice would you give to yourself at the beginning of your career?

    I still give this advice today—last week, even, while participating on an alumni panel discussion at my alma mater. Learn how to network and form meaningful relationships with others. Know who you can call for advice and assistance in various types of professional, as well as, life decisions. The relationships you form will serve you well for the rest of your life. Then, of course, be kind, welcome all and mentor those who ask for it. (I am a proud Anne E. Mayer Award past recipient.)

    What's the best career advice you've ever received?

    Learn when it’s time to move on.

    Do you have any side hustles?

    I guess a side hustle is also my hobby, MG sports cars from the 1940’s and 50’s. Granted, it’s an illness—we have five.

    What are you reading now?

    Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand; a WWII story of survival, resilience and redemption.

    What skill would you like to master?

    Maybe someday I will learn to weld. However, if my soldering skills are any indication, it will be a challenge.

    What would be the first thing you'd do if you won the lottery?

    Pay down debt, share with our kids and probably buy more old cars (I hope my wife doesn’t read this…).

  • April 19, 2022 10:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Meet Nichole Baker, one of our 2022 conference speakers!

    Nichole Baker, Associate Director, Prospect Management & Portfolio Development, Kent State University

    What was your first job?

    I worked a concession stand at Geauga Lake Amusement Park the summer I turned 14- miss that place!

    What piece of advice would you give to yourself at the beginning of your career?

    Speak up- you are your own best advocate. Do not let anyone push you down or silence you. Things may not always go the way you want but you will never regret saying out loud what you would like to have happen and actively working towards it.

    What was your first nonprofit job?

    I parlayed a summer working as a conservation manager at a buffalo reserve in Colorado that was managed by the Nature Conservancy into a full-time position with the San Francisco office of the organization…and my career in philanthropy was born!

    When/where was your first Apra conference?

    I went to the New Orleans conference in 2015 while I was 5 months pregnant with twins! It was hot as heck, and I was as big as a house, but it was all worth it for those beignets.  

    If you were so wealthy you didn’t need to work, what would you do with your time?

    I would travel.  I was very fortunate to explore quite a bit before I became a mom, seeing parts of Africa, Europe and South America, but there are still so many places on my bucket list!

  • April 18, 2022 8:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tonia P. Ferrell, Ph.D. – Director, Prospect Development and Campaigns for The University of Akron

    How did you get into fundraising and/or prospect research?

    I had been a market analyst and corporate researcher for a number of years before deciding I needed a career change. I went back to school and got a master’s in higher education. During my job search, I came across prospect research positions at a few universities. After looking into what prospect research was all about and seeing that I had all those skills AND a love of higher ed, I applied and ended up where I am now with UA and have been here for 14 years.  I never thought I would be a part of the team that asks for donations, but I love the process and the impact we can make in the lives of students and the overall institution. 

    What do you listen to on your commute?

    I listen to Sirius radio. I bounce around several different channels, but mostly stay on comedy stations. I’ve found that laughing on my commute helps me prepare for the day or decompress after.  If I am not in the mood to listen to jokes, I listen to music that I can sing along with and hold a 30-minute solo concert in my car while I drive home.  Some days it is better than therapy!

    What's the best career advice you've ever received?

    Never say no to anyone looking to talk to you about an opportunity.  It never hurts to talk with them and find out more.  You can always say no later if the fit is not there for you or them.   

    Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

    Sister Hazel.  Their music can calm me or lift me up, and there always seems to be a song that is right for those times I am undecided. 

    Would you rather have a personal chef, personal housekeeper, or personal chauffeur?

    Can I have all 3? If I can only pick one, it would be a personal chef.  I don’t enjoy meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking.  Having someone prepare a healthy, well portioned meal and have grab and go snacks at the ready for me (and do all the dishes), would be amazing!

  • April 04, 2022 9:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Mike Ormiston, Prospect Consultant, The Ohio State University

    What was your first job?

    I worked as a dishwasher in the dining halls of Miami University, where I am still considered a dishwashing legend. Ask anyone in Oxford, Ohio, who the best dishwasher in Miami University history is, and if they don’t say my name, they’re probably new to town. There’s no need to get upset with this supposed “Oxford resident” that you’re talking to, but c’mon, that was an easy question you asked them.

    What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you doing it?

    I wanted to be a baseball player when I grew up, and although I am now grown but do not play professional baseball, I do think that collecting baseball cards and looking through baseball stats was helpful in spurring my interest in statistics/math, which I use often. I remain willing to sign a team-friendly deal with any baseball club looking for a player with delusions of grandeur.

    What’s your favorite thing about what you do or where you work?

    My favorite thing about my job is that it frequently offers me opportunities to learn something new. The process of going from ignorance to understanding is rewarding for me, and my coworkers walk me through that process all of the time. Also, my coworkers are my favorite type of teachers – the type with a playful sense of humor.

    Where’s the next place on your travel bucket list and why?

    I’d like to visit the Pacific Northwest (Portland & Seattle) because I’ve never been to that region of the U.S. and I’ve heard that it’s beautiful. I’d also like to go to Spain because I’m intrigued by their late-night dinners, and I took some Spanish classes, so maybe I can communicate with slightly more ease than I’d be able to in other foreign countries.

    Is pineapple an acceptable pizza topping?

    I accept it, but it wouldn’t be one of my top choices. I think it would also need to be paired with some other topping, like ham, for me to be into it. Ordering pineapple-only pizza seems like some kind of act of defiance to me, although I’m sure whoever does that is just following their taste buds.


  • March 29, 2022 3:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Kim Opp, Prospect Researcher, Ohio Northern University

    How did you get into fundraising and/or prospect research?

    After having a position at an online HS for over a decade, administration changed, and it was time to get a new job. I decided to fill out an application to my alma mater as a coordinator to the VP of Advancement. I was fortunate to receive an offer for the position and learned so much from our VP who was very knowledgeable and a great 'teacher' of advancement. From there, I moved into the Prospect Research position and have not looked back!

    If you were so wealthy you didn’t need to work, what would you do with your time?

    I would spend time with my grandchildren and work on my many hobbies.

    When/where was your first Apra conference?

    My first APRA conference was during COVID; therefore, it was virtual. It will be exciting this year as it will be live and I will, hopefully, be able to meet some of the people that I have talked to virtually.

    Where’s the next place on your travel bucket list and why?

    I would love to go to Montana (specifically Glacier National Park). My husband and I love to hike, fish, and enjoy nature.

    Would you rather have a personal chef, personal housekeeper, or personal chauffeur?

    Personal housekeeper - hands down. I find cleaning the house takes up too much of my time that I could be doing other things.

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