Samantha Sullivan, Prospect Research Specialist, Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation
How did you get into fundraising and/or prospect research?
Partially by accident and partially because of my first job interview with my boss, Nickie Montesano. I have a Master’s in Art History but was having trouble finding a non-teaching job at a museum. I knew that I wanted to work at some sort of non-profit. So in order to pay the bills, I started working at Akron Children’s as a receptionist on the clinical side. A couple years later, a receptionist position became available at the Foundation. During my interview, Nickie (my-soon-to-be boss) mentioned that I would probably really like prospect research and I should look into it. I had never heard of it before but I was intrigued. After I was hired, Nickie (and the other prospect researchers: Katy Berger and Jenn Ewing) took every opportunity to give me small projects to help me develop my researching skills. I am so lucky to have found this department and to work with such amazing people.
What piece of advice would you give to yourself at the beginning of your career?
Just get your foot in the door. I spent a long time thinking I had to immediately get the job I wanted at the place I wanted. Sometimes, you only need to get A job at the place you want. That proves to the organization you really want to work there and it gives them the opportunity to see first-hand how intelligent, hard-working and committed you really are.
What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
I feel like I should say contemporary art since I have a degree in art history. But I would probably do a presentation on Harry Potter, Jane Austen or some random true crime story.
Would you rather have your dishes or clothes be magically clean?
Dishes. 100%. I have never had a dishwasher and washing the dishes is such a pain. At least, I can do other things while doing the laundry.
If you were so wealthy you didn’t need to work, what would you do with your time?
Travel. Travel. Travel.