Meet Michele Weinschrott
There’s a friendly debate among seasoned AFP members about who has been a member the longest. Membership records don’t always clear up the confusion. (If you’ve ever tried to renew your membership after lapsing for even a short time, you’ll understand why. This is also a good reminder to renew your membership now if you’re lapsing this summer!)
Regardless of who holds the “official” title, there’s no debate that Michele Weinschrott, Director of Development at the University of Milwaukee College of Nursing & School of Public Health, has been an AFP member for a very long time. According to AFP Global, she’s been a continuous member since 1986. But her passion for this profession hasn’t dimmed in the least over all of those years.
Talking to Michele is a reminder of why many of us choose to go into the fundraising profession in the first place. Her face lights up when she talks about how much she enjoys building relationships with her donors. She has an obvious passion for making this world a better place, both in her career and in her personal life. And her commitment to growing this profession is evident immediately.
Michele’s experience in AFP is a journey that may feel familiar to many long-time members. She was very involved in the chapter in the early days of her career when she had a lot to learn. Then she reached a time where she got so busy in her career and at home that she was lucky to make one luncheon each year. But in the last year and half, she’s gotten more involved again by leading the seasoned professionals special interest group for our chapter.
Her best advice for AFP members – whether new or long-time, just starting out in the field or having been around for a long time – is to get involved with a smaller group by joining one of the special interest groups or serving on a committee. The networking opportunities have been valuable to her and she’s enjoyed the relationships that she’s seen develop. Even during the middle years where she didn’t have quite as much to learn or as much time to stay involved she gleaned nuggets of wisdom every time she attended a luncheon or program.
Talking with Michele about her journey with AFP and why she loves our profession was energizing. The work of a fundraiser can be hard and this conversation brought to light the importance of peer relationships. Formal and informal support and mentoring experiences are essential to our career success and professional well-being. Take advantage of opportunities to network or join the AFPSEWI Mentoring Program. Lean into the relationships you build as an AFP member. It can make the hard work even more meaningful.
Submitted by Rikki Harry on behalf of the membership & diversity committee