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  • Writer's pictureEmily Hutchins

A time for transition

Updated: Mar 8, 2019

Not only did I recently have brain surgery and was out on medical leave for 8 weeks, but I’m also taking a new job! Let’s just say the past 3 months have not been dull at all.

Back in the fall, I had eyed an open position within the Advancement division at Virginia Tech that would have been a great opportunity for my professional growth. However, I decided not to apply due to the fact I was having brain surgery and that was my number 1 focus. I had written the opportunity off completely until several weeks ago when I learned they were still in the interview process.

I was offered an interview, but the only day that worked with all the schedules was my very first day back to work. I went into the office that morning, then interviewed from 12 – 5 p.m. Imagine going from being completely unplugged for 8 weeks, to coming back to work and answering all kinds of questions about my surgery and recovery, then heading into an interview setting for 5 hours and answering challenging interview questions! At the end of the day, my brain was absolutely fried. All I could do that evening was pour myself a glass of wine and stare at Jeremy and Huck.

Fast forward a couple weeks and I received an offer, accepted it, and will officially be transitioning from leading advancement efforts for the College of Natural Resources and Environment (CNRE) to leading fundraising for the College of Engineering.

I have been in my current role for 5 years, and was feeling happy and comfortable. I work with an incredible team and CNRE is a very special place that feels like an extended family. I am proud of all that had been accomplished in 5 years, but starting to feeling restless and ready to grow. Because of our incredible team and donors, we already blew our annual fundraising goal out of the water!

This feeling of comfortableness signaled to me that I'm ready for a change. It’s time to be pushed outside my comfort zone. In my new role, I’ll be joining a highly accomplished team with ambitious fundraising goals. I’ll gain more management experience and learn a whole new world of engineering.

I am so thankful that I am able to grow while staying at Virginia Tech. Fundraising is such a fulfilling profession. I get to work with incredible, humble, generous donors who care deeply about helping others.

Here are some things that I’ve learned in the past five years:

1. Effective communication is the most important skill of all.

2. Do your research and get the facts first before trying to make a change.

3. Trust your gut.

4. Be confident and speak your mind.

5. Learn your organizational culture and push the boundaries (while staying somewhat within the parameters).

6. Gain trust and respect from your colleagues and leadership.

7. Stay away from the cantankerous, unhappy ones. They are not worth your time.

On a personal note, two of my college buddies came to see me the weekend before starting back to work and we had a relaxing weekend at my parents cabin in WV. We went on snowy hikes, ate an incredible Italian meal, and created an epic Drake dance routine to cap off the evening.

I've also been cleared to run again! I’m starting back slowly and building up my mileage at an easy pace. I’m incorporating some weekly gym time and yoga into my workout routine. The best part about exercise is getting back together with all of my workout buddies. They are an inspiring bunch that I love being around.

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