NORDP Board Member Cameo: Karen Fletcher

Who: Karen Fletcher, M.B.A. Director of Grants Resources & Services
Where: Appalachian State University
Number of Years in RD: 8
Length of NORDP Membership: 6

When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?Fletcher_headshot_2018

I was working in Advertising and Sales at the local newspaper when I was hired at Coastal Carolina University (CCU) to create a Proposal Development program in 2010. I was told that my sales skills landed me the position, as they wanted someone to sell the benefits of applying for external funding to faculty members at a PUI and coach faculty on how to sell their project/research to funders. I also think my background in writing, editing, marketing, and running a non-profit education program helped with the job duties.

I was hired as the Director of Grants Resources & Services at Appalachian State University in 2015. We are a central office that handles the collection, analyzation, and dissemination of funding opportunities; administers limited submission and internal grant competitions; provides educational programming on strategic research positioning and competitive proposal development; and works with faculty to develop their research and funding strategies.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?

I joined NORDP and attended my first Conference in 2012 (attending every Conference since) and found myself surrounded by people who were professional, organized, and committed to providing a network and education to RD professionals like me. I applied to be a mentee and in 2013 I joined a dinner group which inspired me to be more involved. Eventually I joined the Member Services Committee, the Pre-Conference Committee, the Communications Working Group, the Conference Program Committee, co-chaired the Mentoring Committee, and I volunteer as a NORDP mentor and am a member of the PUI Working Group. I was elected to the Board of Directors in 2016, was elected Secretary in 2017, and was elected Vice President/President Elect in 2018. I co-presented at the 2016 conference in CO and the 2017 conference in VA.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP (new colleagues, connections to institutions where you previously had no point of contact)?

There are too many to choose from! From my first NORDP member interaction with Pollyanne Frantz, who introduced me to Karen Eck (VP, current President), who became my Board mentor and I now work with side-by-side as VP/President-Elect; to meeting and working with Board member, Jan Abramson, on the Mentoring Committee and with her help, conceptualized a research mentoring program for my institution which earned me external grant funding and has garnered institutional support in its second year – the “NORDP connection” has shaped my career.

I could name many more members who have left an impact on me, but this space won’t allow it. My advice: never let an opportunity to meet a NORDP member pass you by – you never know where it will lead you!

What inspired you to run for a position and serve on the NORDP board?

I decided to run for the Board when I found myself looking for more PUIs to talk to and I wanted to make sure PUIs had a voice on the Board. I have attempted to support PUIs at the Board level and am happy to support and be a part of the new PUI Affinity Group that Ron Fleischmann is leading.

What initiative are you most excited about in your role as a board member?

I am excited about the Board’s efforts to develop a Strategic Plan for NORDP’s future. More to come on this soon!

What is your proudest accomplishment as NORDP board member?

So far, my proudest accomplishments are working with Jennifer Lyon Gardner to help standardize operating procedures and my work with Karen Eck on establishing a New Board Member orientation.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

NORDP fosters a culture of inclusive excellence by actively promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity in all its forms to expand our worldview, enrich our work, and elevate our profession.

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