FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 09.26.2023

In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, great leadership, remote work, client events, the art of giving feedback, dad jokes, and more! Read it here: 

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Dear friends,

September marks the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15). The Smithsonian has a full calendar and many resources, including the moving Somos documentary and gallery tours at the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the National Museum of American History. Also, this is the perfect time to learn about Smithsonian planning for the National Museum of the American Latino. I am so excited to see this historic museum come to life.

It is also a busy month for professional development. Stepping outside my usual routine, I recently spoke to a class of retired NFL pro football players as part of the Next Chapter U program of the Pro Athlete Community. It was a dynamic experience, and I loved the conversations about how the work athletes do through foundations and/or partnering with nonprofits can provide important purpose as they reimagine their next chapter.

In addition, thank you to The Nonprofit Alliance for a fantastic Leadership Summit. It was wonderful to see many of you in person and to explore our industry’s challenges together. I was especially proud that Avalon’s fantastic, longstanding partner Jenny Phillips played a major role. Next comes the important work of putting those insights into action! To help with that, here’s a checklist for making the most of a conference after the event ends. COO Kerri Kerr, senior VP Jackie Libby, and I are excited to share our learning with the Avalon team.

One hot topic was the choice employers face between remote, in-person, and hybrid work. As you know, Avalon committed to a remote strategy in 2021. Every approach has pros and cons, so I’m grateful that Avalon was decisive and that our team is now building on years of experience with remote work. For us, this has included burnout education and awareness, building remote culture, learning to manage remotely, gathering in-person with purpose, and evolving workflows for remote efficiency. The work is ongoing, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished. I was also happy to see recent data on how full-time remote work reduces our carbon footprint.

From Avalon HR, senior director Melissa Ferrell shared two good resources for feedback and follow-up conversations. For those who need help delivering feedback up (to a manager, leader, or client), try reframing it as a request that clearly states what you both need to succeed. If you’re seeking follow-up on an email or project, these suggestions will help you craft a good follow-up email. At Avalon, we train on the Radical Candor framework for feedback and difficult conversations. Long story short, be candid and caring.

In client news, the Kennedy Center will host Opera in the Outfield® on Saturday, September 30 at Nationals Park in DC. This year, Washington National Opera will perform Puccini’s La bohème. The broadcast begins at 7:00 PM, but opera lovers can enjoy pre-show activities when doors open at 5:00 PM. This is always a fun event and a great way to experience opera in a unique setting.

Finally, if you need a laugh and live near DC, you’re in luck. A mysterious (working!) payphone in Chevy Chase will greet you with “a quality dad joke” or, if you prefer, a random fact or affirmation. The phone appeared without fanfare in May, and residents seem to love it. Kudos to creator Don Rutledge for entertaining his neighborhood in such a fun and wholesome way.

Take care,


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