FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 03.12.2024

In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, you will find a time capsule, mentorship, HR trends, communication across generations, a new typeface, your deep-sea personality, and more. Read it here!

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Dear friends,

Today marks 4 years since we sent our staff home to work remotely, due to COVID closures. I am reminded of the first email I sent to clients on March 10, 2020, and it is quite a time capsule! I am deeply proud of how seamlessly Avalon stepped up to guide our clients through uncharted territory, to apply our experience and expertise to new challenges, and to deliver on every single promise. I hope we never see another pandemic, but, no matter what, Avalon will always have your back.

On a personal note, I hit a big milestone: 30 years in the industry! I began my fundraising career at Herzog Swayze in 1994 and then founded Avalon with Ann Herzog in 1997. The Avalon team showered me with nice messages (and hilarious photos from way back when). I am endlessly grateful for the opportunities Avalon and our clients have provided me by making this work so interesting—and to our team for making Avalon such an incredible company and providing so much support to me. It’s a team effort, and I am so proud to be a part of this!

One benefit of a long career is having opportunities to mentor. Last week, I was invited back to speak to the latest class of athletes at Pro Athlete Community (PAC). It is such an honor to advise them on their foundations and charitable activities. And, it’s a fun opportunity to step outside my usual Avalon work and mentor these unique philanthropists. Thank you, PAC, for having me!

Allison, wearing jeans and a blazer over a PAC T-shirt, presents from the stage at PAC Elevate.Speaking to the Pro Athlete Community.

Last week, senior director of HR Melissa Ferrell contributed a great article to The Nonprofit Alliance (TNPA) blog. In “Your Greatest Resource in 2024: Your People,” she highlights major trends in HR and teaches that the best way to pump up your people power is to support their professional growth and wellbeing. I agree and am so grateful we have Melissa at the helm of Avalon HR. Here are the trends to know:

  • Remote work is here to stay.
  • Gen Z reminds us to prioritize mental health.
  • Skills-based organizational structures are on the rise.
  • Labor rights, turnover rates, and employee experience are all connected.
  • Your employees are the glue that holds your mission together.

Also at TNPA, Senior VP Jackie Libby attended an Essential Leadership Lab on “Generations in the Workplace.“ One point of discussion was generational communication preferences, and Jackie shared a great article that explains the challenge. Because we have so many choices, miscommunication is on the rise—and that’s a drain on energy and efficiency. “You need to apply a certain level of sensitivity about the type of information you are looking to communicate and ensure that you choose the right medium regardless of the intergenerational preferences.”

In design news, after 17 years Microsoft changed their default typeface from Calibri to Aptos. It’s a subtle change, but I’ve enjoyed learning about the nuance. Both are sans serif fonts, but Aptos was designed specifically for digital, and, according to its designer, it “sneaks in a little humanity.” Microsoft corporate VP for design and research Jon Friedman told The New York Times, “It’s both quirky and creates a more natural feel that brings in some of the serif font ‘je ne sais quoi’ to it.”

On a client note, five artists from Fountain House have work in the new Museum of Modern Art exhibition, “Made Together: Art from Our Community.” Arturo Sitjar, Roger Jones, Sammi Ayala, Susan Zelin, and Zeus Walton “were featured as part of the Community Access Art Collective, a group of artists and creative individuals who share the personal experience of living with mental health conditions.” You can see their work at MoMA’s Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building through March 29. What an incredible opportunity and a dream come true for these talented artists. Congratulations!

For your enrichment tonight, the Kennedy Center will host Americans for the Arts’ 35th Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Art and Public Policy. This year’s lecture will be given by actor and advocate Jeffrey Wright, who starred in the film American Fiction. In addition to the main event, Ben Folds will give a special performance and Congressman James E. Clyburn will receive the 2024 Congressional Arts Leadership Award. You can register to attend virtually here.

Finally, the Monterey Bay Aquarium created this fun deep-sea personality quiz. I am a pom-pom sea anemone—the life of the party. Fitting, since I consider myself Avalon’s chief cheerleader! Let me know what the quiz says about you!!

Take care,
Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

Allison Porter, President
Avalon Consulting Group
202-429-6080 ext. 102