Alumni: Where Are They Now? with Isabelle Johnson

Posted October 26, 2018

We recently caught up with former employee Isabelle Johnson to find out how her time at DG prepared her for her current career!

What was your role while at Development Guild DDI?

I was an internal team coordinator for fundraising projects, reporting to Karen Lieberman-Daly. I also worked on a few client contracts, but primarily had a hand in coordinating new client drafts and liaising with Suzi and her team.

What did you take away from your time at Development Guild that has served you well in your career?

I became more aware than ever that I enjoyed internal operations—helping a team of people run—than I did direct fundraising. It was early in my career, so figuring out which way to turn was an important thing. I found that I was good at things I wouldn’t have guessed—contracts and the legal side. I made good friends who I’m still connected to. It was one of those jobs that helped me figure out who I wanted to be professionally; before then I had kind of bumped around a bit.

What have you been up to since leaving?

I left Development Guild to move to Ithaca, NY with my former husband. I moved further into management and served as an Assistant Director at a non-profit there. After that, I took a break to spend time with my family. For the past 14 years, we have been in D.C., where I’ve held my current title.

Tell us more about your current role.

I’m the Director of Operations at the D.C. Volunteer Lawyers Project, overseeing finance, human resources, legal compliance — all the components of managing the business side of the non-profit. We provide free legal services to victims of domestic violence, as well as at-risk children; we help secure protective orders, child support, and child custody, among other services. My career focus has been to help various D.C. nonprofits, like DCVLP, move from the start-up stage through all stages of professionalism. I believe strongly in having a local impact and being community-based.

Do you have any advice you would like to give to incoming employees?

Assume that you like everyone and then seek to prove it. Interpersonal relationships are how things get done – it’s important to understand your colleagues and what motivates them. So, learn how to speak to them in a way that makes sense to them. You lose something when you’re not listening and appreciating where people are coming from. Plus, creating those connections makes having difficult conversations easier.

If you’re interested in becoming a part of the Development Guild team, you can explore our current openings here: Join Us.


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