FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 04.05.2022

Industry events, deep sea creatures, Excel influencers, and…drumroll please…how Allison Porter learned to drive. Read it here in the latest @AvalonConsultingGroup dispatch!


Dear friends,

Happy April, and welcome to Q2 of the calendar year!

Last week was a refreshing return to in-person industry events. Senior VP Jackie Libby and I met in DC for client board meetings, and we attended The Nonprofit Alliance Leadership Summit, “Life in the Global Reorg.” I was on the Leadership Summit planning committee, and I’m delighted by how it turned out. Not only am I proud of the content, but it was my first in-person conference in two years. It was wonderful to see colleagues face-to-face.

Also last week, Avalon VPs Dara Igersheim and Mary Meredith presented the creative and digital sections of DMAW’s DM101 trainings. On the student side were Avalon assistant program managers Emma Scott, Shauri Thomas, and Rachel Miller, and program manager Alex Andrew. It sounds like there is promising talent on the rise across our industry! Thanks to Dara and Mary for starting them off on the right foot.

Emma, Shauri, Rachel and Alex of Avalon stand on the sidewalk outside a classic DC block of rowhouses. It is dusk and they are all smiling.

Emma Scott, Shauri Thomas, Rachel Miller, and Alex Andrew.

In client news, the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) has a new exhibit opening on April 9: “Into the Deep,” an “unparalleled descent into the ocean’s dark abyss.” What makes this truly special for MBA is that the deep is right outside their back door. If you aren’t on the west coast, the exhibit website is also quite engaging. For example, you can test your knowledge with a quiz or go behind the scenes of the exhibit, which was years in the making.

In the museum world, marketing VP Barb Perell shared a fascinating story about guards who curated an exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art. “Guarding the Art” features works from the museum’s collections, selected by 17 members of the security team. In addition to choosing works for inclusion, they collaborated on wall labels, branding, and installation. According to chief curator Asma Naeem, the exhibit is just one part of the museum’s DEI strategy:

[“Guarding the Art” is] another embodiment of our commitment to creating a much more accessible institution. It’s a reassessment of who holds knowledge, giving the guards tools and opportunities to continue to build skills. Frankly it’s about who has a seat at the table.

On a practical note, thank you to senior VP Jackie Libby for passing along a great Excel tip. Do you know the fastest way to remove blank rows from a spreadsheet? It’s amazing how a little trick like this can make a big difference in your workflow. I’m also fascinated by the idea that “Excel influencers” not only exist, but also have millions of followers on Instagram. Wow.

Finally, and unimportantly, this WSJ article about the dying art of driving a stick shift had me nostalgic for my dad’s Isuzu Trooper, which I learned to drive in the late 80’s, growing up in Massachusetts. There is nothing like learning to manage a clutch on a steep hill in downtown Boston with a line of cars honking at you to get moving! We did an Avalon poll and learned that about half our staff are accomplished stick shift drivers, ready for Formula One. What about you? Reply and let me know.

Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

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