By Janelle Schneider, Grant Development Officer, WestCare Foundation
A series of unexpected events including late arrivals of cross-country flights and a fire at the scheduled kick-off location could not throw WestCare’s national grant and development teams, executives, and support staff off their game for a long-planned, in-person meeting at our Foundation office in Henderson, NV.
Convening May 2 – 4, the meeting – the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began that many of the two dozen individuals met in person – brought together WestCare’s grant development officers and private fundraising and development team, with their respective executives, for brainstorming, in-depth strategy discussions, and even a couple of team-building group activities. At the helm were WestCare’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Ken Ortbals; Chief Officer for Resource Development and Program Support and Senior Vice President of WestCare Texas, Beverly Watts-Davis; Chief Administrative Officer, Savannah Jones; Interim Vice President of Grants, Lisa Jackson; and Senior Vice President for Private Fundraising, Scott Faulkenberry, who joined his staff for the two-day conference via WestCare’s teleconferencing system from Dandridge, TN.
She said the group’s teamwork is the single most-important characteristic in its collective success.
“They are not a team because they work together – their ’teamwork makes the dream work’ because they respect, trust, and care for each other, as well.”
A last-minute change of venue seamlessly orchestrated by logistics master, Frances Hruby, Executive Assistant to Mr. Ortbals, because of a kitchen fire in the originally booked restaurant was an auspicious start to two full days discussing WestCare’s growth and opportunities for grant and fund-raising development. With a welcome delivered virtually from Florida by WestCare’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Richard “Dick” Steinberg, the group dove deep into processes and practices for maximizing WestCare’s ability to bring innovative and effective programming to the people we serve. Discussions were fluid and very productive. Joining the group in Henderson at various points were Linda Erath, Controller; Shawn Jenkins, Chief Operating Officer for the Western Region; Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Jason Engel; and Chief Information Officer, Dwayne Stevens. Aja Ramos, Senior Vice President of WestCare Pacific Islands, called in from Guam and Steven Wright, Senior Vice President of Appalachia Operations, joined virtually from Dandridge.
But, juggling multiple time zones for meetings with WestCare’s national team is just one routine requirement for WestCare’s grant development officers and private fundraising and development staff. As both seasoned professionals and lifelong learners, they continually expand their knowledge base of programs, practices, and state-of-the-art tools that enable this relatively small group of professionals to produce the funding needed to sustain and grow WestCare, a $140 million organization that continues to serve the hardest-to-reach individuals and families in 17 states, three U.S. territories, and two republics.
Pictured from left: Maryellen Pistalu; Alicia Garcia; Linda Erath; Beverly Watts-Davis; Savannah Jones; Melanie Stevens; Dwayne Stevens; Janelle Schneider; Lisa Jackson; Martin Bimler; Lisa Matzner; Patricia Chamorro; Jeneiene Schaffer; Ken Ortbals; Andrew Moran; Frances Hruby; Cecily Moreland.