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Each month, we shine a spotlight on one of our chapter members with a series of questions. We hope you enjoy learning more about our spotlight nominee this month.

JULY 2021 - Member Spotlight

Joann Pak
Senior Manager of Membership, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco | de Young and Legion of Honor

How long have you been involved in the nonprofit sector?
I have been working in the nonprofit sector for over 5 years.

Tell us about your current position. What are your responsibilities?
Currently, I am the Senior Manager of Membership at the Fine Arts Museums. I manage a team of 5 wonderful folks who help steward our members and program. I work closely with our Director and Associate Director to help lead and strategize the program. Responsibilities range from creating and helping run campaigns successfully, making sure our platforms and channels are running efficiently as possible, working with other teams and colleagues to make sure our members and donors have a great experience.

What has your career progression been like so far?
My first exposure to fundraising was as an undergraduate student worker at Mills College on their telefundraising and where I got to connect with alums and parents. Then I interned at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley and worked with the Development Director. In every position I’ve held I always enjoyed aspects of community engagement, setting goals and KPIs; fundraising is the perfect matrix of those tasks that keeps me motivated. At the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, I feel connected to the members and donors and their passion and love for the arts. I am fortunate to have mentors who have advised and nurtured me along my career path and to work with equally motivated and generous peers.

What are you most proud of in your career to this point?
This past year was a year unlike any other as we had to quickly respond and pivot our campaigns due to the pandemic and physical closure of our institution to the public. I worked to set up our institution’s Recovery Fund on a digital platform and was part of a task force group to get everything aligned and ready within a week’s time. I quickly led a stewardship campaign to call and check in on our members and donors and mobilized our team’s outreach efforts.

What advice would you give to other AFP members who are considering becoming a board member?
I am all in on memberships! During the pandemic, it’s been invaluable to connect with fundraising professionals during this time and have access to resources, articles, and virtual events that can help me and my colleagues.

I am impressed by the caliber of leadership and impact fellow Golden Gate Chapter AFP members have within our community and nationally. I’ve enjoyed being part of the AFP Mentor Program as a Fellow and have made lifelong connections!

Any secrets or just tried-and-true pieces of wisdom you want to share about what has worked for you?
It’s no secret but just saying thank you! I love to extend my thanks whether it’s a letter, email, text or phone call. Not only to our members and donors, but for the colleagues I work with! Just a small note might make someone’s day and make them feel appreciated.

What is the biggest challenge facing the profession right now?
It is definitely the uncertainty of COVID-19 and its lasting impacts. We have navigated through the rollercoaster of reopening and closing and then reopening our Museums. COVID-19 has taken a toll on our community in so many different ways. Everyone has been so resilient with the pandemic. I am looking forward to our community healing together from the pandemic and many of the underlying issues that were amplified during this time. Collectively, we have so much more work to do to dismantle white supremacy, decolonize our institutions, and support BIPOC and other marginalized communities.

How do you manage to balance your personal and professional life?
Our team is highly motivated and we work hard to hit our goals every quarter. Despite that we have a culture of putting our well-being first. This comes from my supervisors who trust and support us to do our best. I try to keep myself and fellow team members accountable to take time off. I think when everyone contributes to a work culture where people are held accountable to put their well-being first, it makes the balance so much easier and the quality of work even better.

What do you like to do to relax?
This past year I learned how to bake! I can understand why baking was such a popular hobby during the pandemic. It’s extremely relaxing working things with your hands, reading a recipe from a book or notebook which helps get my eyes off a digital screen. Even with recipes, I can still be creative with the ingredients and how I decide to decorate or add little flourishes. I enjoy baking recipes from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen and Clair Saffitz.

Last book you read (or show you’re watching or binge-watching)?
I recently read Ocean Vuong’s “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” and am rewatching VEEP. Both are very different, but highly recommended!

What do you want to do in life that you haven’t yet?
I would love to go on a month long sailing trip around the world!