20 Questions

Beth Ernst

  1. How would you describe yourself in 3 words? Organized, creative, and animal-loving
  2. What was your first job, and what lesson did you take from it that you still use today? In high school I was a math tutor and learned that it’s not always about knowing the answer, but helping someone learn the skills to find the answer themselves.
  3. Who do you wish you could meet again for the first time? A childhood friend who I’ve lost connection with.
  4. What inspires you to do your best work? Knowing how much it matters to the people I’m doing the work for.
  5. Is there a humanitarian that has left an impression on you? David Radcliffe. He is an old personal friend — and someone you probably haven’t heard of — but he does amazing work for communities all over the world. I first encountered him as a speaker at youth conferences, he was overwhelmingly passionate about the need to change the way we are living to make a more sustainable world. Since then, he began a non-profit, The New Community Project, which does a wide variety of service projects and incentives in the US and abroad. He also leads Learning Tours where he takes people to non-touristy locations and they get to know the local people, what impacts their lives, how we can help, and do some sort of service project with them. His focus ranges from peace, sustainability, female empowerment, environmental impact, but while always focusing on the people involved.
  6. What is your Enneagram type? Type 9 – The Peacemaker. The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent.
  7. How do you describe what you do for a living to family and friends? I work for a non-profit consulting firm that comes along side non-profits to think and act more strategically, often while seeking strategic funding such as capacity or capital projects.
  8. What could you give a 30-minute presentation about with no advance preparation? Animal welfare/rescue.
  9. What’s one thing you’re currently trying to make a habit? Vacuuming every Sunday.
  10. Where are you in birth order (oldest? middle? youngest?) and do you think it affects your personality? I’m the middle of three sisters. I’ve read they tend to be peacemakers which aligns well with my Enneagram.
  11. What do you like about working at WAI? The variety of work; we work with so many different types of organizations on a wide variety of types of projects. It keeps it interesting!
  12. What’s the most inspiring part of nonprofit work? Knowing the work has a tangible impact on the lives of the people we serve.
  13. What’s one professional skill you’re currently working to improve?  Grant writing has become a big focus of my position and I’m continually striving to become a more skilled grant writer.
  14. Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?  Mike Westby – having the opportunity to work closely with him on many projects I’ve learned so much about working with non-profit organizations.
  15. What personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why? My optimism because it keeps me looking ahead to the possibilities not stuck in the challenges.
  16. What’s a mistake you made early on in your career, and what did you learn from it? A mistake I frequently made early on in my career is to always say “yes, I can do that” no matter my actual capacity. I’ve learned to have better boundaries understanding my capacity and when to say “no” or have the conversation around shifting priorities and delegation.
  17. If you could add one thing to WAI office, what would it be? Everyday being bring your dog to workday. My dog is super anti-social, but I’d love my colleague’s dogs to roam the building all day long.
  18. What’s one of your favorite memories from your career? Creative brainstorming with a previous supervisor: there was a ping pong table in the warehouse near our offices and we would enjoy playing while also brainstorming ideas for volunteer orientations, retreats, and other projects.
  19. What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island? 1. Potatoes, so I could plant them and never be without them, 2. Water purifier, 3. A good multi-tool/pocketknife
  20. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’re ever received? Prioritize a work-life balance.

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