Percolator said farewell to Barbara Christensen at the end of 2021, our very first employee, NPSP wizard, and a dear friend. We took some time to talk with Barbara and reflect on her seven-year tenure at Percolator and what she has in store next.
Looking back at the projects you have worked on, our incomplete list indicates you have consulted with over 55 clients. Pretty remarkable; how does it feel?
B: It’s nice to know that I had some good impact on lots of different missions across so many different causes. I am often pulled in too many directions because there are lots of things I find interesting and care a lot about making a difference in, so being a consultant has been great because your work is not focused all in one realm. Getting the opportunity to learn about and help organizations that may not have otherwise come my way or I would not have had the time to volunteer for has been very cool.
Any favorite projects?
B: I have personal causes I love most, and as the Percolators know, I am an avid gardener, so I really liked working on projects with FoodCorps and the National Young Farmers Coalition. I have both an education and a soil degree, so I know how important it is to get kids exposed early to farming, the land, and healthy eating. Those projects were a nice mix of where I came from and what I care deeply about.
On the technical side, I really liked solving problems with Center for Care Innovations. I like the team there; they’re very design and user experience focused, and they were really thoughtful. I liked getting to architect for them and I learned to love their work even though in the beginning I didn’t know much about the health sector or health equity. It was really cool to get exposed to a cause via tech.
What are you most proud of?
B: Having the experience of watching people walk the journey I did and supporting them. I came into tech working at a nonprofit where I had about four job descriptions and managing Salesforce and our engagement strategy was only supposed to be 10% of my job, but in actuality, it was the bulk of what we needed to be doing with our technology. As a consultant at Percolator, I was able to witness nonprofit system admins, who were wearing many hats and always putting out last-minute fires, become technical architects and really make their technology serve their mission. Helping people along that path is what I am most proud of. There were a few admins that I started working with early on who now function more like internal tech consultants.
What are your plans post-Percolator?
B: To relax for now. It is strange to not have a plan, but I’m ready to take some time off. I just moved across the country and have a new town to learn, lots of knitting and baking projects I want to work on. I’m taking a bunch of fun naturalist classes and getting a Salesforce certification or two to keep my brain in the game. Also, universe-willing, I plan to reattempt my extended trip to Ireland and the UK.
I’m sad to leave my coworkers and my clients because I like everyone I work with, but I am excited to see what’s next.
We are excited to see what’s next for Barbara too! We will be keeping in touch and a close eye on the great things to come for her. Her internal legacy, the #crafting slack channel, lives on.