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Staff Spotlight: Sarah Muller

GET TO KNOW OUR STAFF MEMBER, SARAH MULLER, IN TODAY’S SPOTLIGHT Q&A!

What is your position?

I am the Development & Marketing Assistant.

Why did you choose this profession?

It’s funny, I never went to school for marketing, but I’ve always been interested in it. As a kid I used to make up commercials. I guess that’s why I chose it, but why I stay is because of the nature of the work. I’m not selling some product—I’m raising money to make a difference in someone’s life. That’s powerful.

How long have you been working with EAC Network?

I just hit one year last week! So, one year and one week. Plus one day. But who’s counting?

What is your favorite part of your job?

My job is honestly a lot of fun. I truly enjoy working on our fundraisers. The first fundraiser I worked on was Party to Protect Children, which is a pretty great introduction to fundraising. It’s more casual, and it’s focused on children, so you know it’s a fun event! That event benefits all of our Children & Youth programs, and we hold it at the Long Island Children’s Museum. Last year our theme was “pajama party”—I wore a unicorn onesie. I think that beats pretty much anyone’s fun job. “Oh yeah, your office has bagels on Fridays? Well I got to wear a unicorn onesie to work!” If you have kids, I highly recommend you come join us at this year’s Party to Protect Children! It’s on October 14th at the Long Island Children’s Museum. Our theme this year is Halloween, so start planning your costume now! Registration opens soon!

What is the hardest part of your job?

It can be stressful when funding gets cut for a program. Depending on the scenario, it can have a huge impact on the people within the program.  So, we are tasked with supplementing the lost funding through individual and corporate donations. We never want to lose a program if we can do something about it. Last year, our funding for Nassau Supervised Visitation was cut, and we focused on the program during our Annual Appeal. We successfully raised funds to fill in the gap. Most recently, our funding for CASA got cut. We’re hoping to raise some funds so that CASA can continue the great work it’s doing. Read more about CASA and how you can help here.

What aspect of your job do you wish people knew more about?

The Development & Marketing team is constantly trying to think of new ways to reach more people and get them involved in EAC Network. Lately, we’ve been hoping to add some more runners to our team for the TCS New York City Marathon, as it’s coming up this November 5th! We’ve also added a new event, the Generosity Series. It’s only a 5k, and you are welcome to walk or run the course. Hopefully, that will be something that attracts a lot of new faces, or reengages someone who’s already involved with us!

Name one goal you have for the upcoming year.

I currently have a walking goal—I’ve challenged myself to walk 35,000 steps per week! Some weeks I can get there, and some weeks I can’t. I’m hoping that I can make it a lifestyle change, so it’s not something I even need to think about. I’ve started doing things like walking to the grocery store, and I also walk around my neighborhood. I’d really love to get my whole office involved in the walking challenge. It would be fun to do it as a group.

Tell us about a client who deeply influenced you and how you do your job.

One thing about my job that’s very different from the vast majority of jobs at EAC Network is that I don’t often meet clients. My job is behind the scenes—I help raise money that keeps programs running, but I don’t often get to meet any of the clients we serve. However, I did get to spend some time at our Hempstead Senior Center a few months ago. I was unnecessarily worried about it before I got there—what if they didn’t like me? But the seniors were so sweet. I chose a table that was a little less chatty than the others, so I wouldn’t feel like I was interrupting their conversation. It turned out the two women there primarily spoke Spanish. I actually took Spanish for eight years, but I’m very rusty. Still, one of the women spoke English very well and was so appreciative of any effort I made to speak her language. I was so pleased—and surprised—to learn that all the seniors really wanted was just a little of your time. They were so sweet and welcoming, and they were really happy to have someone new to talk to. I hope that I can spend more time with our seniors in the future, and that I can meet more clients from our other programs.

Name one of your hobbies.

I enjoy gardening. My apartment faces a backyard, which my landlords don’t really use and don’t mind if I putter around. So I’ve slowly acquired more and more plants. I really enjoy having fresh herbs while I cook, so I grow sage, thyme, rosemary, and basil. I also have a cherry tomato plant. My most dramatic plant is my orchid, which I’ve somehow managed to keep alive for over a year. I always say I need to stop picking up plants, but then I see one and I can’t resist…

Would you encourage others to go into your profession?

Of course! Fundraising isn’t for everyone, but it’s rewarding. It’s also variable—I know it’s cliché to say “no two days are alike,” but it’s true of this job. It depends on what we’re working on, of course, but I’m out of the office frequently for networking meetings, to visit our other offices, and to work on an event. I enjoy getting a little variety in my day.

What advice do you have for others interested in your profession?

You can’t be afraid to meet new people! People skills are surprisingly important for this job. I often have to meet new people, network, and explain our agency. Although I do spend a lot of time at my desk, this is definitely not a job for someone who is shy. I really enjoy meeting new people, and I’ve made some great connections since starting here.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In a bigger apartment, hopefully! With a cat. And more plants.

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Sarah Muller is the Development & Marketing Assistant for EAC Network. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in English.

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