20 Questions

Beth Ernst

  1. How would you describe yourself in 3 words? Organized, creative, and animal-loving
  2. What draws you to nonprofit work? The ability to be a part of impactful work, and striving to make the community a better place for everyone.
  3. What was the last piece of art (book, music, movie, etc) that moved you, and why? The Laika exhibit at the Portland Art Museum. The massive creative power behind all the necessary pieces is mind blowing! I felt impressed, inspired, and overwhelmed.
  4. 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.
  5. To be successful, what’s the most important skill a professional should develop? Communication. The ability to represent yourself, your ideas, and your work with others — in a clear and understandable manner — impacts every facet of your professional career. It can make or break every situation.
  6. Who makes you laugh the hardest? My two best girlfriends. They both live on the east coast so we don’t get to see each other very often. But when we do, we always go away with aching bellies from all the laughter.
  7. What was the worst purchase you’ve ever made? A bottle of cheap spray tan. It was a disaster, as you can imagine.
  8. Dogs or cats? Both!
  9. Beatles or Elvis? Beatles
  10. Who do you call first with good news? My little sister and mom, in close succession.
  11. Who has most impacted your professional life? My former boss, the Director of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). I had completed my term of service and had gone home to try and figure out what was next. He called and invited me to come back into the program and work in the BVS Headquarters for a year. In accepting his offer, I found my love of administrative non-profit work, and that passion was channeled in the two years I worked for him and my drive to look for non-profit administration focused positions in the future.
  12. What was your first record, CD, or cassette you bought? Ace of Base, Happy Nation — I loved that album, now I need to go find it online to listen to!
  13. Who do you wish you could meet again for the first time? A childhood friend who I’ve lost connection with.
  14. Favorite Holiday? Halloween, for the creativity and fun in dressing up and Brach’s candy corn.
  15. What travel experience has most influenced your life? I was working as a childcare worker and we took the moms and kids in our program to the coast for a 3-night getaway. I ended up running the “baby program” for the 4 days, since my boss was on maternity leave and her sub had never done our residential retreat before. Having only been doing childcare for less than a year (it was brand new to me when I started the position), I jumped into the responsibility feet first and gained a new sense of accomplishment in my leadership abilities. From there I knew childcare wasn’t my calling, but nurturing, organizing, and leadership were in my future.
  16. What inspires you to do your best work? Knowing how much it matters to the people I’m doing the work for.
  17. How do you restore your energy when you’re feeling worn down or burnt out? Creating something with my hands: drawing, painting, woodworking, or clay. The act of making something out of nothing.
  18. 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.
  19. If a movie was made of your life, what actor or actress would you want to play you? My first thought has always been Melissa Joan Hart.
  20. Favorite movie quote? “I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar,” from Serenity.

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