Updated: Sep 10, 2021
What is the Talent Spotlight Series?
The Talent Spotlight Series is designed to put YOU or someone you know in the spotlight to help increase awareness about the various career opportunities available. If you are interested in being featured in the Talent Spotlight Series, please fill out this form.
Today we are talking with Janell Brittain about her career as a Development Manager at the Oregon Environmental Council.
My relationship with Janell began as coworkers and eventually developed into a wonderful friendship. Over the past 5 years Janell and I have both transitioned jobs, bought homes, and have had many transitions in life, but our connection has remained. I am honored to consider Janell as a part of both my professional and personal network, as I am sure many other people are as well. If there is one thing you should know about Janell it's that she has a way of capturing your heart and bringing you along with any project or adventure she is planning. I am so excited I get to share Janell's journey with all of you today!
Now let's learn more about Janell...
Name: Janell Brittain
Years in Current Position:
Less than 1 year
How Can I
Connect with Janell?
Connect on LinkedIn or through email!
What does a day in the life of a Development Manager look like?
As the Development Manager, my main priority is to retain, engage, and grow our membership base.
One thing I really enjoy about this position is that every day is different. There is seasonality to fundraising so my area of focus changes often. For example, April to July and October to December we focus mainly on donation campaigns. During these times of the year we contact our donor base to ask for donations to help fund our initiatives. My job during these times is to make sure our donors are thanked for their generosity. In January, my focus changes to delivering tax acknowledgements. All other months of the year you will find me focused on strategy. I am always looking for new ways to grow and diversify our donor base. I also spend a good portion of these months educating donors on why their support is so vital to our success.
What role or roles did you have prior to your current position?
I started at Oregon Environmental Council in January 2020 as the Membership Coordinator. In May of 2020 I became the Development Associate and then in May 2021 I began my current role as the Development Manager.
Prior to that, I worked at an investment firm for 8 years in a variety of roles from associate to management in client service, sales and specialty departments.
How did your experience in previous roles help you succeed in your current position?
My time at the investment firm helped me develop time management skills, human-capital management, and the importance of being a team player. My past experiences and perspective allowed me to learn quickly and become a valuable team player to OEC. Every position I have held at OEC was a building block to where I am at today.
Is there any specialty training or area of expertise needed to succeed in your current role?
For roles like this, you typically need a Bachelor’s Degree in a relevant field as well as ~2 years of applicable experience. In my case, I got my experience as a Membership Coordinator and Development Associate. This would be a common track to work your way into the Development Manager position.
I’ve also recently started looking into nonprofit graduate programs. Although the master’s degree is not required, I’m interested in continuing my education for personal development.
How do you think your job will change in the next 5 years?
On a personal note, my hope is that I continue to grow personally and professionally in this career.
In terms of my career field, I hope our membership/donor base continues to grow and diversify. We cannot continue to protect this beautiful state we love without the support of our statewide donor base. This growth will also enable our program staff to continue their great work as well.
How many hours do you work in a typical week?
My work week is 36 hours/week.
What parts of your job do you find the most rewarding?
I love not having the Sunday-scaries! Working for a mission-based organization is so rewarding. It makes the biggest tasks as well as the most mundane tasks, yes – every job has them, seem vital. In my case, everything I do is working to protect Oregon’s land, air, and water for future generations. It is such a joy to turn my computer on every morning to continue with this work.
What does work/life balance look like in this career field?
This is a tricky question for nonprofits. Before working in this sector, I thought burnout didn't exist because each job has so much meaning. The problem is, it is hard to have boundaries between work and your personal life. The majority of people working in nonprofits not only care about their job because they care about their career, but they also care about the broader mission. That means it is hard to find boundaries and opportunities to turn off and recharge. I feel very lucky to work for an organization that prioritizes our mental health and encourages us to find boundaries to be able to turn off and recharge.
How did you find this career field?
After thinking about leaving my corporate finance career after 8 years of moving up the ladder, I focused on what I wanted to wake up and do every day for the next 30+ years. I ultimately landed in nonprofit work because I wanted to wake up every day fighting for a mission. I’m a dedicated, hardworking person and I wanted to devote my workaholic tendencies to something that is truly working towards bettering the world we all live in.
Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 to 10 years?
I’m unsure of exactly where I will be in 5 to 10 years, but I would love to be an Executive Director of a nonprofit one day. In the meantime, I want to continue to personally and professionally grow. At OEC, I want to continue to grow and diversify our donor base to help push this good work forward.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume?
I am on an improv team at Curious Comedy theater. What initially started as a way to stretch myself outside my comfort zone, quickly became my #1 hobby. I’ve been on the same improv house team for 3 years and hope to continue to spread love and joy to this community.
If you are interested in learning more about Janell and her experience, please feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn. There is a button with a direct link at the top of the blog!
If you would like to be featured on the Talent Spotlight Series, please contact me here!
I would love to share your career journey!