I Love My Job: Grace Foster Part II

Check out part two of Grace Foster's "I Love My Job" interview! Grace talks about everything from job changes to future goals and will leave you inspired to love your job too.

Why Did You Leave Be The Match?

I was with Be The Match for just under 2 years and I was getting the itch again. Switching was the best career decision I ever made. It also came with loss of income. Obviously non-profit doesn’t pay as much as for-profit and I had to be okay with that. I knew that for myself, for-profit work was never going to fulfill me and when I switched to non-profit, I was able to answer my self ‘yes, I was right.’

With Be The Match, it was a great starting place and I loved my boss. Barbara knew, she was my boss, she was like, ‘Grace, I know that we only have you for two years, maybe. You’ve got to tell me what you want so I can help you.’ She helped me with professional development and get into some grant writing. I started to look for opportunities with Be The Match because I wanted to stop doing individual fundraising. I was used to being on big corporate deals, I’m used to that environment and I missed that

When I started job searching again, I knew I wanted to work for a non-profit. I also knew that I needed to be able to practice getting big money. That’s what I had learned and what I had been cultivating for so many years. If you’re smart, you won’t ever throw away your skill set; don’t ever do that. Your role may change, the organization you work with may change but bring your old skill set with you because the more you cultivate it, the more valuable you’re going to be to the organization.

What Do You Think About Your Current Job?

Here we are at Enroll America. The position I’m in now is the Associate development manager for Enroll America. What I do is to bring new business in the door. I have less experience in big grant writing but that’s the next step for me here at this organization. Oh my God, I love it! Enroll America is at the forefront of their industry. They’re all about helping to enable people to take advantage of the affordable care act. Many people don’t know that they have affordable health coverage. Enroll America drives people to the right places to find out information, to get financial help and to help them get enrolled into health care. It’s awesome!

Where Do You See Yourself Going?

This organization, while it’s helping me develop professionally, it’s also helping me to dream bigger. I’m at a place where I never thought I’d be; working on $3.5 million grants. Me quitting without a job lined up, no, that never happens, ever. It was hard, it was challenging and for that little chunk of time I was pretty much miserable. But look, I couldn’t be happier and this isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning. If you have it in you to dream big, you can do big. You have to take risks and you have to put in a lot of hard work to get there. My new dream is to work in the White House! I still volunteer with Be The Match. I think volunteering is always important; like I said, eat humble pie. Please always try and give back to somebody.

Always talk to your manager about what you want. In job interviews, it shows that you’re ambitious, it shows that you will work hard and that you have the foresight to look at the big picture and not just your immediate role. If you can’t land whatever you want right away, that’s fine. Find out in that role, what it is that is part of your key interest and really work hard at developing that. Then, you can take that to the next step when you’re ready to move on and hopefully find that dream job.

My dream is to grow a non-profit or start my own where we focus on young women and help them through education and career development. If someone had helped me back then when I was 17, I think I would have gotten to this place a lot faster. I would love to help young women who don’t have anything and help them attain their goals and their dreams.

How Did You Realize Your Dream?

It was a combination of working my ass off, having to work and do school and also volunteering and hearing the stories of the families we were helping. It started out that I wanted to start a scholarship for girls like me who had to work. I was never qualified for a scholarship because my GPA wasn’t high enough.

I wanted to start a scholarship where it’s like, ‘Okay, so you have a crappy GPA but you’re doing all of this stuff. You just need some financial help.’ I want a scholarship for me. I know there are other girls in my situation that are working their asses off and can’t get a high GPA but they’re the ones who need financial help because they’re working to pay their bills. I want to help people who have no support and need it.

It probably won’t be realized for another five or ten [years] but, whatever, I’m fine with that. I’m trying to be patient and learn what I need to learn. When I’m ready to open my own non-profit or start it or grow it, I’ll have what I need and the skills that I need.

Do you love your job too? Share your story with us and you could be featured next!