If you do any work in the field organizational effectiveness or nonprofit capacity building, whether you are a consultant or funder for such programs, then you know Stephanie McAuliffe, the Director of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Today is her last official work day at the foundation and tomorrow is the first day of her retirement. This post is my personal tribute – and a request to send her some good wishes on the Stephanie McAuliffe Wiki.
I have had the honor of working with Stephanie since 2009 when I arrived at the foundation as Visiting Scholar. Before I relocated to California, I was commuting between my home in Boston and Los Altos and in California for one-week trips without a car. Stephanie lent me her bike so I could make the ten mile round-trip commute by bike — avoiding the hassle of a car and getting some exercise too. She not only lent me some wheels, but introduced me to other people on staff who were experienced bike commuters. I quickly got the best biking routes to and from the Foundation.
Stephanie is a natural born network weaver. She is quick to connect you to someone or as they say in networking weaving lingo, “close the triangle” – with someone where there is reciprocity. Stephanie is also a master of getting things done, thinking and doing in incremental steps (scaffolding), and problem solving. She is always cheerful, enthusiastic, curious, and well – so much fun to work with! Talk to anyone who has worked with the Stephanie and they will probably echo this.
One of my big projects during my first year at Packard was to co-author the Networked Nonprofit with Alison Fine. Stephanie was a huge help in what seem like a daunting process. Always had suggestions for someone to interview or a paper or book to read. When the book was published, she was one of the first people who posed with a photo of the book.
Stephanie McAuliffe joined the Foundation in 1998. As the Human Resources director, Stephanie managed all Human Resources functions including payroll, benefits, compensation, and employee relations. In addition, Stephanie managed the Organizational Effectiveness, Philanthropy and President’s grantmaking funds. I had the honor of getting to learn from and work with Stephanie as part of her special interest in understanding how to support the effectiveness of grantees that are networks or are working in a highly networked way. This exploration is shared on the OE wiki site known affectionately as the “see through filing cabinet.”
Stephanie lead an exploration of networks at the Packard Foundation over the last 5 five years. Last month, at a convening on Networks hosted by the Monitor Institute and Geofunders, Stephanie was on a live streamed panel of funders talking about past, current, and future of networked grant-making strategies. It was amazing to look back to see the growth of interest in this field — from a very small group of stakeholders to a room of over hundred funders, plus a larger audience out on the social web.
You may not know this, but Stephanie is an accomplished social media geek. Stephanie was among the first in philanthropy to explore Twitter and its possibilities for working a networked way. She was the first foundation person to write a guest post on my blog, appropriately on the effectiveness of networks, summarizing one of the many conversations we had with outside experts so that it could be shared with a broader group. What I like best about Stephanie is that she wasn’t afraid to experiment with the tools, learn quickly, and instantly share what she learned.
Please take a minute and wish her well on her next adventure on the Stephanie McAuliffe wiki!