Mel Witman joined Development Guild as an Executive Search Consultant in 2021. We caught up with her recently to hear about her daily routine while working remotely from Boston, MA and what she loves most about Development Guild.
What does your typical day look like?
I usually start my day with some type of movement; recently I’ve been into indoor rock climbing! Then I return home and get ready for the workday.
I check my emails from the night before, while I make myself a chai latte at home, and prepare for my meetings for the day. Every day can look different, but it’s usually a mix of doing research for projects, conducting phone screens and interviews, and attending internal and client meetings.
In the mornings, I typically reserve a 2-hour window to conduct candidate research. Usually I will use LinkedIn Recruiter, while also searching other areas of the web for potential candidates, depending on the project. I’ll enter those potential candidates into our database, approve them for outreach by another member of our team, and move onto my next task for the day.
When I have a break around noon, I’ll step away for a bit to make myself some lunch, and if it’s nice out, eat outside – sometimes my colleagues and I set up virtual lunches to catch up.
I always have 1-3 internal and/or client meetings throughout a typical day, so I’ll log onto those, interact with one of many project teams, take notes, and add any action items to my to-do list. I’ll also spend time conducting phone screens and interviews with candidates. Afterward, I’ll input my notes on those discussions into our database, and prepare to present candidates to our internal teams as we move people through a search pipeline.
Toward the end of the work day when meetings slow down, I’ll catch up on my to-do list and administrative tasks, like scheduling interviews for candidates, creating agendas for internal or client meetings, or completing expense reports.
Between 5-6pm, I will usually log off from work, and cook dinner for the evening for my fiancé and myself, and we will relax and debrief on our days, while catching up on one of our favorite shows – right now that’s likely The Last of Us, Survivor, or The Mandalorian.
Day in the Life Video
Mel let us tag along on a typical day working remotely as a nonprofit consultant.
What brought you to development guild?
Halfway through my Nonprofit Management MBA program at The Heller School at Brandeis University, we switched to completely virtual classwork due to the pandemic. When I graduated in January 2021, I was on the job hunt and Development Guild was hiring for a Consultant. For my MBA’s capstone, I acted as a consultant for Mass Audubon, where I supported them in creating a framework for achieving carbon neutrality as an organization over the next decade. I really loved the consulting flow of work, and have great interest in nonprofit strategy and leadership, so the opportunity at Development Guild seemed like a great fit. After a few interviews, I got the job, and have been here ever since! It will be my two-year anniversary with Development Guild in May 2023.
What do you love most about your job?
My favorite part of this job is learning from and connecting with so many different and inspiring organizations. During the search process, I have the privilege of speaking with leadership, Board members, and staff at each organization, and learning all about their successes, challenges, and opportunities. Then I get to be their spokesperson while speaking with candidates. I always end up talking up clients after a search is done too! Some of the impact I get to learn about is so intriguing and exciting; I’m always looking to connect people in my network with my previous clients to increase their support.
I have always had a passion for environmental work, but never truly studied or worked in that field professionally, so I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work with organizations like The Trustees, New England Forestry Foundation, the American Birding Association, and the Garrison Institute, just to name a few!
Who do you get to collaborate with?
Collaboration is a big part of my work. Internally, I work with all levels of staff members on many different project teams in the search department – we have such great colleagues, I am always learning something new. I also work intermittently with the marketing team on job announcements and postings, and the accounting team to address contractual and billing tasks.
With clients, I work consistently with one or two point people at an organization, while also spending time learning from and working with other staff, leadership, and Board members.
Outside of my project work, I am also co-chair of the DEI task force, so I have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues outside of the search team in meaningful ways.
What aspects of the company culture do you enjoy most?
Everyone who works at Development Guild is dedicated and has a strong work ethic, which is something I appreciate in a work culture because it pushes me to be a better colleague and consultant. The culture of professional development at Development Guild also inspires me to pursue learning opportunities, such as a recent Association of Fundraising Professionals course on Fundraising Basics.
When I first started, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of community considering the role and company is completely remote. I was particularly worried that I would miss having personal connections, but I find that I really appreciate the community that Development Guild has created and I’ve really grown to love the remote aspect. I value the opportunities to connect with colleagues through community building activities that DG hosts, meeting local colleagues for drinks in Boston, and building virtual lunches into our schedules with colleagues so we can talk about the non-work related aspects of our lives.
Advice for Success at Development Guild
If you are considering working at Development Guild, I recommend bringing your authentic self, an eagerness to learn, and a collaborative mindset, and you’ll be quite successful! We have great colleagues who are eager to teach and mentor, are interested in learning about your full self, and want to see you be successful. It’s a great opportunity to grow professionally amongst great colleagues, while also working with a robust network of wonderful client partners whose work and impact bring meaning to each day.