Learning to be Better at Doing Good:
Reflections on The Racing Upwards Fellowship
Diana Angeret, writes:
I gathered my thoughts and told myself: you are doing it. And, as Robin always says: “you can do hard things”. And so, I did.
As the fellowship comes to a close, I feel like a completely different person. I started the fellowship hoping to learn how to raise funds for an idea I had and, hopefully, for the non-profits I work with, while contemplating a career change. I ended up with a new career path and then some.
I first realised I had changed after I attended one of the firm’s powerful capacity-building sessions: Food for Thought, Poetry for Social Justice. This was something I had never experienced in any work environment. I was at peace with the fact that I no longer wanted to be a lawyer. That I am not disappointing my parents, both lawyers, by taking a different path.
I had always enjoyed reading and researching and I just didn’t know how many other ways I could apply this skill. The Racing Upwards Fellowship at The Athena Advisors Consulting taught me to view fundraising as a journey and a way to literally change the world for good. That is what I want to do; I have a new sense of purpose and am prepared to do more. I simply didn’t know how before.
Emma Orefuwa writes:
The fellowship has been involved and fully immersive. Right from the outset, we served as core members of the team, simultaneously learning and executing activities with clients and colleagues on some of the most pressing social justice issues of our time.
One of the highlights of the fellowship has been the various opportunities I have had to meet with and learn from, high-powered individuals who are doing phenomenal work in the realm of philanthropy. While I have benefited immensely from networking during my career, the connections made during our fellowship took on a different tack. They were carefully thought out, planned for, open exchanges, often masterclasses in operational excellence, always inspiring. Many a time Diana and I reveled in debriefing on the golden nuggets we had picked up from top-performing people who had found ways to navigate a space that can at times be challenging.
Embarking on the fellowship with Diana Angeret has been a joy. We have been pillars of support for each other while finding our footing in the world of prospect research, donor engagement and client advisory.
During this fellowship, we have been challenged to think more holistically about giving, and the importance of reflecting on every aspect of our human experience to make us better agents of change in society.
The Racing Upwards Fellowship targets communities of colour and is a much-needed initiative in a sector woefully lacking in diversity. Until the Racing Upwards Fellowship, Diana nor I had met a professional black fundraiser. Our time with The Athena Advisors has afforded us the opportunity to initiate relationships that will be sustained beyond our fellowship, which will in turn enable us to support other underrepresented groups within our networks, who are passionate about fundraising and non-profit management.
We both entered this fellowship at a time of uncertainty about where we were heading professionally, but with the conviction that we would use this experience to be better at doing good.
The Racing Upwards Fellowship has provided a platform for us to do just that, and do it well.