Hey, I’m Katie Charland, the new Director of Operations for Gangplank.
Last week, Gangplank welcomed me as its first full-time staff member. Though I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of you through various events, I’ve got a long way to go if I hope to get to know the 2,000+ Gangplank members and fans.
Gangplank means something different to each person that walks through its doors. My journey to this position started over 3 years ago when I began teaching.
Fresh off my bachelors degree in poli sci and communications, I was looking for an in to Chicago politics. On a whim, I applied to Teach for America and was accepted as a 7th grade history teacher on the border of Mexico and Texas. This experience forever altered my life, as I became passionate about nonprofit causes.
After my 2-year contract was up, I moved to Arizona to pursue a graduate degree at ASU. My masters program focused on public relations for nonprofits. In May 2009, I graduated and went off into the world.
And what a crappy world it was. Recession, Arizona unemployment hovering around 10% — ouch. Having become involved in the social media/PR scene, I was able to contract myself out for various small projects. It was during this time I was introduced to Gangplank.
At the beginning, I was terrified. Here I am, a tech/social networking newbie and (gasp) blackberry user, surrounded by the hacker elite of the Valley. Intimidated? Hell yeah.
But what’s great about Gangplank is its welcoming spirit. People love to chat and network.
Not only that, Gangplank is an organization with tremendous potential. All I had to do was ask if I could help plan events for Gangplank and was instantly assigned to brown bags.
Now I’m staff (though still not an iPhone convert). That’s my Gangplank story.
I want to hear yours.
Just as Gangplank means something different to each person, everyone has a stake in the organization’s future. What is your experience with Gangplank? What would you like to see it become?