20 Questions

Alicia Hovanas

  1. How would you describe yourself in 3 words? Curious, ambitious, & empathetic.
  2. What draws you to nonprofit work? Everyone can see the world isn’t as it should be, but each nonprofit aims to make the world a better place. That’s a beautiful and noble endeavor, full of hard work and tenacity. The people who work for nonprofits are often inspiring, hopeful, “salt of the earth” kinds of people–people I love working with.
  3. What was the last piece of art (book, music, movie, etc) that moved you, and why? The book, When Breath Becomes Air, by Dr. Paul Kalanithi. You’ll have to read it and find out.
  4. What was your first job, and what lesson did you take from it that you still use today? My first job was a barista at Starbucks. I learned the valuable lesson that humans are better people after they have their morning coffee, myself included.
  5. To be successful, what’s the most important skill a professional should develop? Humility–if you’re humble, then you never stop learning, never stop growing, and never stop improving.
  6. Who makes you laugh the hardest? Kelly Kapoor or Ron Swanson.
  7. What was the worst purchase you’ve ever made? A brand new SUV right after graduating from college. It was an amazing vehicle that served us well, but that monthly payment was brutal! Oof!
  8. Dogs or cats? Cats are softer, quieter, and generally don’t smell, but certainly have an air of entitlement that I’m quite opposed to. Dogs, on the other hand, are loyal, more trainable, and can protect you, but their bites can be pretty scary. So have two pet ducks.
  9. Beatles or Elvis? Beatles, no doubt.
  10. Who do you call first with good news? My awesome husband, Daniel.
  11. Who has most impacted your professional life? Two of my former colleagues, Cynthia Mathai and Dr. Jessica Taylor. Both lean into difficult conversations with radical candor, the desire to understand before being understood, and a commitment to all parties walking away stronger and better. In their own ways, both taught me how to do the same.
  12. What was your first record, CD, or cassette you bought? Britney Spears’ first album, “…Baby One More Time.”
  13. Who do you wish you could meet again for the first time? My eldest child. After three days of labor, I was a little delirious by the time we finally met!
  14. Favorite Holiday? Christmas.
  15. What travel experience has most influenced your life? It wasn’t interational, but I worked at a salmon cannery for two summers in college in a remote part of Alaska called Naknek. I worked 16 hour days, seven days a week, and the brutal working conditions really opened my eyes to how good I have it back at home.
  16. What inspires you to do your best work? Knowing that the effort in which I put into something directly affects someone else.
  17. How do you restore your energy when you’re feeling worn down or burnt out? A massage, baking something very technical after the kids go to bed, and time with my closest friends.
  18. Is there a humanitarian that has left an impression on you? Not sure if this is Kosher or not, but I’m going to say Mr. Rogers. I love his heart for children and the respect he has for kids — that they’re people with emotions and thoughts as big as adults’.
  19. If a documentary was made in your life, what actor or actress would you want to play you? Emma Watson or Nicole Kidman.
  20. Favorite movie quote? “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”

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