Masterpiece by Mary Banker

I have had a lot of different jobs and careers. My resume is a bit all over the place. Why am I admitting this? Because the experience and independent consultant work I have done and all the different areas where I have worked in have provided me with enriching professional development and a network only that type of experience could create. In addition this type of background has given me a lot of comparison abilities.

Masterpiece1At Girls in the Game we talk a lot about serving the whole girl for her whole life but
I’d like to show you the broader brush strokes that are made each day, outside of serving the girls directly. What you see and read about is the main painting, but what about the background scene, the parts of the painting that you need to make the whole picture?

Every day when I enter our offices, which are rent free by the way because of our partnership with the Park District, my co-workers are at their computers with their heads down, focused and on a mission. Every single day. We are a well-oiled machine of several intricate and necessary parts. Remember when I said that I’ve worked in many offices and with a lot of different staffs? There is something special about Girls in the Game. Yes it is the mission and we exist to serve the girls but that is all made possible because of the people at Girls in the Game.

Our management team has set the tone for our full-time staff. The tone is one of professional development, communication, growing, and promoting entry and mid-level staff. Our President recognizes talent and sees each member of our staff’s potential. This mind-set and environment creates pride, commitment, loyalty and a cohesive unit that works as a team toward a common goal, changing the lives of girls.

As I learned the processes at Girls in the Game for our new interns, year of service staff and volunteers, the message is clear- grow each person and utilize their strengths. Sadly this isn’t always the case or attitude when organizations or companies have interns or volunteer staff. I have watched our full time staff prepare, train and manage these staff members. I have been in meetings where we are encouraged repeatedly to do performance reviews, give challenging assignments and to grow these positions. To me this is the trickle-down effect. We do not only grow and develop girls, we grow and develop young staff and graduate students and new college graduates.

Our President wouldn’t have us stop there though. We had a meeting yesterday as we discussed the research we have done about expanding the Girls in the Game program nationally. I took a moment to mention my conversation with our Programs Director to our President. I said that this is a talented staff, the A team or Varsity Squad if you will and the Program Director agreed. We are all on the same page, heads down, focused, to make our program better, all committed to growing and all recognizing that it starts with our staff. Our President also interjected that as we expand it is a great opportunity to promote and develop from within our intelligent, motivated and committed staff. This mindset starts at the top and makes its way throughout our organization and directly affects the girls we work with daily inside of our program. It is true that a company or organization is only as good or strong as their human talent.

Here is a quick rundown of our amazing *full-time staff from my perspective;

Meghan; loves to write, is a life-long learner, good listener, promotes and encourages internal staff, empowers each staff member at Girls in the Game, creates an environment to learn and also challenges people so they can get uncomfortable and grow

Dawn; competitive, driven, she is a woman of routine, and a master of events and partnerships, she is amazing at on-boarding new staff and making short term staff feel included and appreciated, you need a question answered, Dawn is your person.

Alia; she is the grant master, takes incredible notes and keeps herself organized, always provides an ear for new ideas and is open to growth, her stories and smile is a light in our office, and she is always dressed for any professional meeting that may arise

Jess; she hit the ground running as our newest staff member, she is a great writer, has great work ethic, communicates well and has gotten involved in outside opportunities like the Sears 5K, interviewing Teens for Teen Squad and took on an advisory board event right off the bat

Sandi; she is a quiet storm of knowledge, she is organized, insightful, invests time in learning in order to share the knowledge with the rest of the staff to make our machine run even more efficiently, she is invested, loyal and always available to train, guide and help

Shelley; she is a map expert, is always available for questions and help, she would rather stay late to do her own work than see her teammates struggle with something, she also creates an inclusive work environment

Beth; she is the positive, incredible listener, can work with any type of personality, compassionate, driven by our mission and is always looking for ways to make our programs better

Jessica; when she walks in a room you naturally are in a better mood, she is positive, smart, driven and loves what she does, her smile is contagious and so is her positive outlook

Margaret; this woman is organized, intentional and driven by serving the girls in the Teen Squad program, she is articulate and is always ready to collaborate to keep our programs in growth mode

Ericka; she has a gift of speech, she is grateful and possesses the gift of making others feel appreciated, she is driven and displays the definition of grit, she is loyal and passionate about her work

Katherine; she is active in every way, she reads our blog, uses our social media, supports by providing pictures and stories of the work that is being done at the sites so those of us who are not in direct contact with the girls get to experience the beauty of the work we are doing, she is kind, has a gentle demeanor but has a confident voice

Me; competitive, driven and grateful to be able to work with such fine, intelligent women toward an incredible mission (also I think I’m funny)

Masterpiece2Inspired yet? You should be, I hope you each find yourself in a place where your talents, differences and goals are being utilized and grown. We can do so much more together, what may be a painting becomes a masterpiece when you look at every single part that is necessary to create all the beauty that is seen.

To learn more visit our website.

*During the year our Year of Service staff, Interns, University Coordinators and Volunteers will be highlighted…stay tuned to hear more about these incredible people and their impact on girls in Chicago, Bloomington and Baltimore.


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