Grace York, ’14
On March 14, I had the pleasant experience of shadowing Paige Narins, ’13 alumna, at the Detroit Economic Club [DEC]. This particular day began with volunteer work at the Finance Park in Detroit where Narins, coworkers and I assisted in teaching high school students about financial planning through an interactive simulation. Afterwards, we relocated to her office at the DEC and I observed and interviewed her as she carried about the rest of her workday recruiting and renewing memberships.
York: What is your official title?
Member Services Coordinator.
What is your typical work day like, and what are your usual responsibilities?
I actually don’t have a typical work day, which is one of the things I like about my job. If I’m in the office though, I usually am working on recruitment of new members via emails to potential new members, contacting current members via email or phone regarding renewal of their membership, reaching out to members who have not attended in a while, especially new members, answering the phones, taking questions primarily about membership or from members needing assistance and maintaining our website’s merge report, which deals with the accuracy of member records. I am often the one that our COO turns to with help on various projects, including editing emails and communication sent out to members and other initiatives and projects that he assigns me. And finally, I assist our events manager, especially prior to events, with seating, getting our system ready for registration, printing VIP badges, setting up our head table which seats board members and other honored guests and any other tasks that need handling.
On an event day, I am responsible for setting up banners, head table and the speaker [VIP] reception. I also manage our volunteer program, which means all volunteers at events report to me. I assign them duties for the event and train them on said duties, if need be, and then make sure they are doing them correctly and efficiently. I also act as line manager during registration, which means I make sure registration runs smoothly, troubleshoot any issues that might arise and handle the seating of walk-up guests to the event. I then act as liaison for our president and CEO during the meeting itself, being on hand if she needs to communicate anything to the staff while the meeting is going on and she is unable to leave the head table.
You and some of your coworkers from DEC volunteered today at the Finance Park as community service. How often do similar events occur and do you often do similar volunteer work through the DEC?
That was my first opportunity to volunteer at the DEC. We are revamping our Young Leader program and thinking that volunteering might become a part of that revamp, but that remains to be seen. The DEC also hosts 50 to 100 students at every regular meeting which I think is a great service to the community and we also are beginning a tradition of hosting financial literacy workshops on a bi-yearly basis that are also very beneficial to the youth of this area.
What is your favorite thing about working with DEC?
Does there have to be just one? I think my favorite thing overall is the experience I’m gaining working at such a prestigious and established organization like the Detroit Economic Club. It’s consistently ranked one of the top 10 speaking forums in the world for CEOs and government officials. Because of this reputation, the membership is made up of the metro Detroit elite, who I get to mingle with on an almost daily basis. Besides that exposure, I am getting practical experience in every field that I’m interested in: non-profit management, events planning and management, sponsor relations, volunteer management and professional writing. Add in a great staff and membership base, and I am one happy camper that this job.
Any additional comments or statements you’d like to share about your daily work experience and working for DEC?
If I could have written my perfect first job description it would honestly be what I’m doing right now, and I work for an Albion grad [Steve Grigorian, ’81 alumnus and COO of DEC] to boot!
Photos and video by Grace York