I was asked to support the Research and Evaluation Team on a project in Ohio for a week.

Responses from my friends:

“Why did you say yes?”


“What type of souvenir can you even bring me?”


My host company, IFF, was hired by a city in Ohio (sorry, I can’t tell you), to develop a preschool. Prior to any drafts of proposals/ideas/sketches, we were tasked with traveling to the city to simply listen. We conducted focus groups and walked residents through a survey that gave us a better understanding of the concerns and desires of parents, with children ages 0-8.

I’ll be honest, Ohio was not my top choice when it came to traveling for work, but as it turns out, Ohio wasn’t too bad, thanks to the awesome community members we met! At every hour, we were running from a preschool, to a community center, to a Boys and Girls Club, attempting to meet as many individuals as possible. Although I was asking the same survey questions, I had unique experiences with each parent I encountered. Some were eager to share their insights, others were anxious to wrap up and collect their thank you gift card, but all were truly concerned and thoughtful in the decisions regarding their children’s school setting.

We ended our trip with insight from over 115 participants; the initial goal was 40!

Being away from my desk, and spending my day around children and parents, reminded me why I chose to enter the nonprofit sector. Discussing, working, and creating alongside people of all backgrounds, with ideas that are so different from my own, is truly a thrilling experience.

I’m thankful for the opportunity I was given to travel with such an amazing team of (boss-women) leaders, meet several sincere community members, and enjoy the area of Columbus that they call downtown.