Nicole Genovese Steps Up as Interim Executive Director
Welcome – again – to Nicole Genovese, stepping into a new role at Impact Austin: Interim Executive Director. Christina Gorczynski recently wrote, “I am so pleased to see Nicole Genovese named as Interim Executive Director starting on July 1. I fully support Nicole and I know that her leadership will ensure a smooth transition.” If you’ve been lucky enough to work with Nicole, you know many of her strengths and skills. If you don’t
know her yet, let us share why she’s uniquely qualified to lead Impact Austin right now.
In a statement to members, Board Chair Katherine Mudge explained the Board's unanimous choice of Nicole as Interim. "We are thrilled, given Nicole’s tenure with Impact Austin, knowledge of our operations, and passion for philanthropy and collective giving. As our Interim Executive Director, Nicole will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization, including coordination with the Board, the operations committees, our volunteers, and members. Think of her as the captain to keep the ship moving on a course consistent with the established operational milestones for our next fiscal year. Nicole’s career in philanthropy and her knowledge about our mission and vision are key attributes that will keep Impact Austin advancing during this leadership transition. She will be supported by the Board, Committee Cabinet, and volunteers."
Nicole first joined us in October 2019 as Office Manager, and we introduced her on this blog. She has since been promoted to Operations Manager. Did you know that philanthropy – and women’s philanthropy in particular – have been part of Nicole’s life for years? She grew up around it: her mom ran nonprofits, and they even cowrote a paper on women’s philanthropy. The notion of “a community of women” was introduced at a young age.
In her early professional work at the University of Chicago, Nicole honed skills related to fund development: fundraising and donor strategies; writing grants and gift proposals; developing white papers and grant reports; and project management. In 2016, Nicole moved to Austin and worked with Girlstart, an Austin-based nonprofit providing year-round STEM education programs for girls. Her next move was to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas as a Development Manager for Annual Giving, where she even applied for an Impact Austin grant for their work. Finally, Impact Austin was lucky enough to engage her talents. Christina was looking for a collaborative partner and she found that in Nicole.
Just months after Nicole joined us, the coronavirus pandemic emerged. Among the challenges that we all faced, Christina and Nicole had to quickly consider how Impact Austin should operate, keeping members engaged, but safe. Having previously served in many new and unscripted roles, Nicole felt up to the challenge and all there was to learn: Zoom, creating and running virtual events, project management for technology systems and upgrades - these are just a few examples. We asked specifically about her technical skills. They include:
• Microsoft Office Suite and GSuite
• Zengine – grant management software
• Wix – website design and management
• Constant Contact, MailChimp, and other marketing and communication software
• Zoom Meeting and Zoom Webinar
• Stripe, PayPal, and other credit card processing platforms
• Box, Dropbox, CloudAlly, and other cloud-based storage platforms
Feeding her passion for philanthropy, Nicole has pursued numerous learning opportunities since joining Impact Austin. These include courses and webinars from Philanos (the giving circle network that includes Impact Austin), the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Philanthropy Together, the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, and Leadership Austin (Beyond Diversity – Courageous Conversations). She’s particularly enthusiastic to understand, learn more, and develop trust-based philanthropy.
Nicole is also dedicated to living the ethics of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. “I love collective giving and how democratic it is – one woman, one vote. It’s important to make sure we truly represent what we say we are. Can everyone see themselves reflected in the community that is Impact Austin? I want us to be welcoming and inclusive for all those that identify as women in Central Texas and want to make an impact through collective giving.” To this end, Nicole helps us avoid unintentionally excluding anyone, especially around our events. She considers attendees with mobility issues, sign language interpretation, and closed-captioning on webinars.
Working with 400+ women, speaking the same language, donating their money in the same direction, all to accomplish the same goal – these have fundamental value for Nicole. “Philanthropy and generosity are so incredibly personal. It’s an honor and privilege to be alongside each of our members on their journey to giving back in our community. Impact Austin is a special place. Every one of the members who keep showing up – that’s why I show up.”