Moving on to my next adventure

This is a post that I’ve both been looking forward to and dreading.

It’s likely going to be another long one, so for those of you who just want it short and bittersweet, here it is:

I will be leaving Fight Colorectal Cancer at the end of this year to join Convio’s Common Ground team.

Do you know anyone who lives in the Washington, DC area and reminds you of me, professionally speaking? Then please send them my way because we’re hiring a new me. I’m very fortunate that I don’t begin at Convio until January, giving us opportunity to have some overlap between my successor and me. We’re hoping to find someone who can start in early December. Normally one wouldn’t announce they’re leaving a job 4 months before their last day, but we’re telling the world in the hope of having the time to find just the right person to take over for me at FightCRC.

For my friends and family who care about the details, please read on.

Why am I leaving FightCRC?

This was entirely my decision, and has been coming on for some time. It has nothing whatsoever to do with my faith in the organization or my satisfaction with where things are heading. In fact, the organization has had an incredible surge in the past year or two thanks to both the rebranding and the efforts of my amazing colleagues. Colorectal cancer isn’t the death sentence it was in 1998 when my father was diagnosed. More people are getting screened. The issue is getting attention on Capitol Hill. And on a personal note, you can practically eat off the floor of my data.

I am so grateful to Colorectal Cancer Coalition’s founder Nancy Roach for taking a chance on me and mentoring me through the early years. I can’t sum up our friendship and working relationship in a few sentences. I have gotten to know (and lost) some awe-inspiring heroes in my journey. Watch this video and appreciate the brilliance and passion I’m leaving behind (Call-on Congress registration is now open if you’re interested in experiencing it first hand…highly recommend!):

It’s appropriate that I’m writing this during back-to-school week up here in the Northeast. I know how every parent of a new Kindergarten student feels, and not just because of my own kids. On one hand you’re really excited about having the time to pursue your own interests and have an independent life from your child, but on the other hand it’s so hard to let your kid go out in to the cold, mean world. In the end, you let your child go because you know that it’s good for them too.

Kids leave their Moms for school when they’re about 6 years old. Fight Colorectal Cancer is 6 years old. The organization needs someone managing day-to-day operations who is physically in the office more than once a month. Carlea (FightCRC’s President, my “work spouse” and dear, dear friend) needs a right hand she can touch with her left. She needs someone there with her to grow the organization’s reach well beyond where I’ve taken it. It’s time to put my baby on the bus and wave goodbye.

Getting involved with the founding of the Colon Cancer Alliance in 1999 and then joining Colorectal Cancer Coalition in 2005 was the only way I could live in a world without my father. While I will always be an advocate…and it will be the cause most important to me, I need some space from cancer for a while.

Finally, as much as I loved the experience of starting a nonprofit from nearly scratch, my passion is moving me in a different direction. I love nonprofit technology. I love data. I love figuring out how to get data in and out of systems and designing technical workflows to meet a nonprofit’s business needs and grow their mission. Writing fundraising copy, prepping for an audit, making sure the P&Ls and balance sheets all line up, juggling health insurance premiums…um, not so much with the love. I don’t hate it. I could probably do this job for the next 10 years and be okay. But when I’m lying in bed thinking about what awaits in my day, it’s the Salesforce stuff that has me most jazzed. Five years since I was first introduced to Salesforce and I’m still just as passionate about working on the platform and learning new tools and processes as I was in the beginning. I’m also passionate about community. I love feeling connected to organizations of different sizes and missions. Never gets old to me.

Why Convio?

I briefly considered whether I wanted to join another nonprofit. For about 15 seconds. No other organization will be in my heart and soul, ever, the way FightCRC is. It was an experience I don’t think I can top and I’d rather not try. I also spoke to some of the consulting firms that specialize in Salesforce in a nonprofit environment. In the end, accepting an offer from Convio was the best and most logical choice for me.

It’s no secret that I wasn’t a fan of Convio in the beginning. In fact, Convio wasn’t interested in having us a client in 2005! GetActive was warm & comfy and treated us like we mattered. Shortly after I posted that blog, some of the friends I made at GetActive privately reached out to me to assure me that the new Convio wouldn’t kick us to the curb. That the support and community I felt from GetActive would seep in to the Convio culture eventually. I know there are those who will roll their eyes, but I do think that proved to be true. Right away Convio started working on a Salesforce connector to sync Convio online data. I jumped at early migration to not only use this tool, but to give feedback on its design and functionality. And my personal relationship with Convio only grew from there.

When Convio embraced the platform I joked that it was like my two best friends were getting married. Now, it’s like they’ve adopted me and I’m moving in.

Implementing Common Ground in 2009 was the best decision I could have made for my organization. Convio’s decision to provide a Salesforce developed CRM application for Enterprise/large orgs (now rebranded as Convio Luminate) and a separate application for medium/smaller orgs (retaining the Common Ground name/branding) was the best decision Convio could have made. This isn’t the same company that didn’t want anything to do with a tiny startup nonprofit in 2005. I think Convio is moving in the right direction, and I’m excited for the chance to be a part of it. More exciting, they want me too! It’s not every day you get to start working for a company of 300+ folks and you can honestly count 10-20% of them as your friends before your first day.

I’m incredibly fortunate and grateful for this opportunity. I’ll post more about what I’m doing once I start in January.

What’s next?

A few weeks ago we officially moved from Luminate to Common Ground. I will say more about that in another post. There’s some very exciting new features and functionality that are only available in the smaller product that I can’t wait to share with you. I waited as I didn’t want to post any further about Common Ground until I could also offer some disclosure. I’m not quite “lame duck” but I’m in this one-foot-in/one-foot-out place that’s a bit strange. I’m confident that I’m leaving my precious data and custom objects in good hands.

I’ll still continue this blog. I’ll still share my longer-form observations, tips & tricks, etc. here. For the past six years I’ve managed to be an employee of a nonprofit, blog about the nonprofit honestly and not piss anyone off or violate any confidences. I hope I can do the same when I’m working for a bigger company, too. Convio knew what they were getting with me, and I’m thrilled that they’re encouraging me to keep going. As to whether your opinion about my credibility changes once Convio signs my paycheck, that’s for you to decide. I’ve always told it like I see it. I don’t think that has to change. I’ve never mindlessly reported from a press release. I have no intention of starting now.


19 responses to “Moving on to my next adventure”

  1. Good luck Judi – it is always a scary move – the devil you know versus the devil you don’t but it sounds like you know this new devil. Of course it is always different from the inside but it seems to be a good move for you.

    I have a son in DC but he is not the geek like his Mother but I will ask him if he knows anyone who might be interested.


  2. Judi,

    FCC’s loss is Convio’s gain. I am sure you will continue to rock, and I am sure FCC will be benefiting from your tenure for years. I wish you all the luck, and hope that the change won’t negatively affect your PNUG participation.

  3. Judi – Wow, very exciting news! Wish you the best of luck and sorry we didn’t get a chance to catch up at Dreamforce this year!

  4. I’m happy to count myself among your 10-20% of friends before your first day at Convio (certainly soon to be more and more). What a tremendous foundation you have built at the Colorectal Cancer Coalition. And how lucky we are to have you join us!

    • Thanks, Sally. I was definitely thinking of you when I was thinking of my friends at Convio. If I remember correctly, you also made the jump from nonprofit employee to Convio?

      • Yup! From the Human Rights Campaign to Convio (nee GetActive) in 2006. Lots of others at Convio have made a similar jump, so there will be lots of people who can relate!

  5. I am very excited for you, Judi, and for Convio! It is a testament to their going in the right direction that they hired you. It’s also a boon for those of us working in this space to have someone like you who so readily and eloquently shares information and understands so much be more “in the fold”. I look forward to continuing to learn from you in your next adventure!

  6. Wow. Big news! Good luck to you! And good luck to Fight CRC finding your replacement. On-site or not, those are some very big shoes to fill. I guess you will be working remotely for Convio?

  7. This is SUCH awesome news Judi . . . and I say that from a completely self-centered place, I know. To have you joining the Common Ground team means we clients get to benefit from all you are passionate about. Bravo! I know FightCRC will miss you but I’m thrilled we get you!

  8. Wow, Judi! I’m thinking about this from Victoria’s point of view as well: I’m thrilled that you’ll be sharing your data and process passions with so many other small nonprofits, and I’m confident that you’ll work on their challenges and goals with the same soul that you worked with for FCRC. And, to sound really selfish now, I’m relieved that your job change won’t mean that we don’t get to see you around NTEN events and online communities anymore. You’re staying in the family!

    • Thanks, Annaliese. Unfortunately, I had to resign from the NTEN Board to avoid having 2 board members working for Convio. But you can’t get rid of me that easy as I’ll still be very active in the NTEN community. 🙂

  9. Hi Judi,

    Just wishing you all the best with the change, and I’m also really glad to hear that you will still be at the heart of the nonprofit tech community. Good luck to FCRC in finding someone to begin to replace you!


  10. Congrats on the new gig Judi, Convio is lucky to have you! Will you be at the Summit in Charm City next month? If so, look forward to seeing you there – I’ll treat you to that “new job beer” that’s been a long time coming. Look forward to being able to work even more closely together, if in a slightly different capacity 😉

  11. What wound up happening with your SOD? I have been dealing with this for eight years now, and it’s ruined my life. Eight years of not being able to hold a job, or go to school, or have any sort of regular, predictable anything because this pain can come on at any time. It usually leaves me stuck in bed trying to move as little as possible, but that doesn’t help much. I’ve been give several prescriptions and had several procedures, including a sphincterotomy, and I’m still nowhere close to a normal life. And the doctors have stopped giving me pain medication because they say that, somehow, they will make the pain worse. I don’t believe them. Mostly because with pain medication I don’t hurt as much and none of the anti-depressants or antispasmodics they have put me on helped either. I’m at my wits end.

    • I’m sorry to hear you’ve had such a rough time of it. I’ve been very fortunate. I had a sphincterotomy in January 2010 and so far, have been holding steady. Since then, I’ve only had one full attack and it wasn’t nearly as bad as before the procedure. I have to be careful of what I eat, avoiding trigger foods. I also have to be sure to eat consistently. I do get pain from time to time, but I can usually bear it without any prescriptions. I know how much it sucks…good luck.