Blog FPO

Gardian of the Month: Rachel Kuntzsch

Our Gardian of the Month is Rachel Kuntzsch, Principal and President, Public Sector Consultants.

Learn: Let's say you are studying for a big exam.  Are you a crammer, or do you like to plan ahead? 

Although I work well under pressure, I prefer to plan ahead, allowing time to process what I have learned and be best positioned for a positive result. It works well for me to break down large tasks into smaller components with interim deadlines. When I was completing my master’s degree a few years ago while working full time and raising a family, it was essential that I studied in increments when I could find the time! 

Network: Tell us about one of your favorite personal or professional networks. What makes it special?

One of my favorite professional networks is a group of women policy leaders that my business partner and I began to convene virtually during the height of the pandemic. There are so many more women in leadership roles in the public policy sector than there were in the past, and yet disparities and misogyny continue to be challenges we all face.  Part public policy problem solving partners and part empowering support group, happy hours with these women brings me inspiration and belly laughs! 

Transfer: Think about a topic in which you feel you're quite knowledgeable.  How would you use this knowledge to better your industry?

I am experienced in launching and effectively running impactful businesses and organizations. Beyond my work role in building consensus to advance smart public policy, I use this knowledge to create coalitions and advocate for change at a local level, including leading initiatives that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in my community. I am grateful for opportunities to share the lessons I learn along the way through mentoring entrepreneurs and other leaders.  

Resource: Please share with us a resource and why you can’t live without it.

The New York Times (NYT) is my go-to source for so many things! I listen to their podcast, The Daily, every morning to stay informed on the top issues facing the world. I also listen to other NYT podcast shows and read their stories. I appreciate the news alerts delivered to my inbox and their style of in-depth storytelling. In addition to subscribing to news, I also subscribe to the NYT Crossword and NYT Cooking. My family particularly appreciates my use of NYT Cooking! 

Just for Fun: Which season represents you best and why?

Spring! It is a season of transforming a muddy mess into new life. This aligns with my strength of bringing order to chaos to resolve challenging issues. I enjoy the process of empowering others to transform partially developed ideas into a vision and actionable strategies. Personally, I also experienced my own rebirth and recovery in the midst of “mud” as I was faced with an unexpected health issue that nearly took my life in 2018. To me, Spring is all about a comeback.  

Gardian of the Month: Andrea Starmer

Our Gardian of the Month is Andrea Starmer! She shares how she might help a wallflower loosen up at a networking event, the way she prepared for the CMP, the resource she can't live without (you probably can't either) and just who's life she'd like to live for one day. 

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Applying Our Understanding of Personal & Social Identities Within Associations

During the pandemic, I was introduced by my colleague to the University of Michigan Inclusive Campus Collaborative which seeks to foster a campus climate in which all community members feel respected, valued, and empowered to engage in the life of the university. Among the resources developed and shared by the Collaborative are two identity wheels, which I’ve found useful in helping association staff, volunteer leaders, and/or members better understand themselves, one another, and how they can improve their interpersonal relationships.

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Are Too Many Meetings Wreaking Havoc on Your Employees’ Mental Health?

Are you have too many meetings and it's causing you (and your team) mental health issues? Find out here.

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A Practical Guide to Stakeholder Mapping & Why It’s Important

There are two primary groups of people involved in your organization’s strategy work: participants and stakeholders. Depending upon their lived experiences, tenure in your industry, engagement with your organization, and a host of other factors, the opinions, insights, and recommendations of your members are going to vary greatly. Want to test it out? Ask a group of 10 members how to solve just about anything and you’re likely to get several dozen suggestions. And that’s because how people see the world, including the blocks and barriers impeding our organizations from achieving their preferred visions, varies.

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Gardian of the Month: Rachel Kuntzsch

Our Gardian of the Month is Rachel Kuntzsch! Check out her tip for balancing work and studying with family time, why the New York Times is her go-to resources and why she feels Spring truly represents her!

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Navigating Difficult Conversations Using Nonviolent Communication

During a recent strategic planning session, participants were working in small groups when Aaron overheard a participant make a comment that didn't sit well with their colleague.  Aaron and his co-facilitator brainstormed a course of action and turned to nonviolent communication.  This is how it went.

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