NORDP 2020 Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski Service Award: Kathy Cataneo

The Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski Service Award was established in 2011 and named for NORDP’s founding President, Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski, Ph.D., who was the first recipient. Voted on by the Board of Directors, the award is given annually to a NORDP Member in recognition of outstanding service to the organization and to the Research Development profession. The honor is recognized with a commemorative plaque and free registration to the following year’s NORDP Research Development Conference.

Who: Kathy Cataneo, Director of Research Development
Where: University of New Hampshire (UNH)
Number of years in Research Development: 11
Length of NORDP membership: 11

What initiative are you the most proud of in your role as a NORDP volunteer?

There are two initiatives that have been extremely satisfying. Establishment of the NORDP Affinity Group policy, which I advanced during my first year on the Board and the Board approved in 2017, helped formalize the role that regional groups play in recruiting and retaining NORDP members. The policy also provided a structure for thematic groups such as PUI and Academic Medical Centers to coalesce – another great tool for recruiting and retaining NORDP members.IMG_1214

The other initiative, resulting in a 50% increase since 2016 in NORDP members to nearly 1100 members in February 2020, related to my leading various member recruitment and retention campaigns and efforts through the Member Services Committee (MSC), which I chaired for two years and then became MSC Board liaison. This tremendous growth was the result of the work of many, including regional representatives and other MSC members, and new programs such as the Ambassador Program and first-time-attendee orientation at the Annual Conference. It has been a privilege to help new members advance their RD careers through NORDP.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

It is because of NORDP that I was able to create and build an Office of Research Development at UNH. As the founding director of this office and prior director of UNH’s Office of Sponsored programs, I had ideas on how to improve the competitiveness of proposals, but I did not have the tools I needed at the start to establish credibility with our faculty in my new role. Through NORDP (Holly Falk-Krzesinski was my first RD mentor), I learned about what was working well at other institutions and I began to implement programs and services at UNH that ultimately enabled me to meet the needs of our faculty and become a respected partner in the research process at my institution.

Concurrently, I was a founding member of NORDP Northeast, chairing that regional group for several years. I worked closely with previous NORDP Treasurer Jeff Agnoli and others when NORDP was between association management firms to respond directly to members’ questions and needs; served on NORDP’s Revenue and Finance Committee, Communications Working Group, Member Services Committee, Conference planning committees, etc. I mention these because through all of these service activities, I was able to expand my professional network tremendously and raise awareness about my university. Opportunities for faculty collaborations became more possible. Our chief research officer relied on me to use my network to get input on issues at the highest level of the academy and to adopt “best practices” in RD. In turn, my credibility became well-established and I became recognized as a leader – all good for one’s career!

Describe how NORDP has changed from when you initially joined.

The biggest change is the increase in membership from a relatively small, intimate group eleven years ago to a 1000+ member organization today. Despite NORDP’s dramatic growth, we have maintained the feel of a smaller organization. I have been struck by how easy and productive networking and other interactions continue to be and how our programming and resources have grown and become more sophisticated over the years –always aiming to be responsive to the needs of our community. This is not an easy feat with an all-volunteer organization.

Along with growth comes growing pains. To relieve the Board from standard organizational business operations, the Board hired an association management firm. This has allowed the Board to assume its appropriate role in strategic planning for NORDP, and to allow NORDP’s committees to implement the activities of the strategic plan with Board oversight. I was privileged to be a Board member to assist with these major transitions.

Recent NORDP presidents have raised the visibility of our organization externally and to those who participate at the periphery of RD. By creating and supporting activities such as NORD, Leadership Forum, PEERD, and the Strategic Alliances Committee’s efforts, these NORDP leaders have expanded NORDP’s influence as a thought leader in the practice, profession, and science of research development. The recent plenary talk and Q&A session with Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of OSTP and former Vice President for Research at the University of Oklahoma is a prime example of NORDP’s growing influence.

I’d like to conclude by saying that I am grateful to NORDP for the opportunities to learn from the best, most generous colleagues one could hope to have. I have been inspired and affirmed by them all.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

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