As the Executive Assistant for Institutional Advancement, Jennifer Garner has the answers you need, and if she doesn’t, is more than happy to find them for you. Garner had her start at ECC in 2019, navigating a new team and switching to remote work.
When she isn’t busy helping her ECC colleagues, there is a good chance she is planning her next trip, having dined in all 50 states! Read on to learn about her role here at ECC, her love for love, and how she managed to visit eights states in 36 hours.
In your words, what do you do at ECC? What do you want others to know about your job? Or what would help others understand your job? I like being the go-to person to help people get to the right place, find the right info, and make it easy to donate to our students and programs. I get to do that for donors, board and staff, and students. Often our main number is the first one people find when reading the IMPACT magazine, or they have received a mailing from us. You would be amazed who calls us every day for assistance. If I don’t have the answer, I’m happy to find out. Sometimes it feels like - “Who you gonna call? – Institutional Advancement!”
What is your greatest accomplishment since you’ve been at ECC? Within a year of my arrival, there were several changes within Advancement. Melding together five new staff members, several just before and during our transition to remote work, challenged us all. Now, coming up on my two-year mark, it’s heartening to see this team thoroughly embrace the challenges and enjoy working together so collaboratively. We have zoomed through fabulous fruitful staff and board retreats, and each process has been a bonding experience. I love seeing how well our team has coalesced under the visionary leadership of David Davin.
If you could instantly be an expert in one thing, what would you choose? Reading minds :)
What do you enjoy doing outside of work (i.e., hobbies/interests)? Traveling and learning new ways to do things. My travel adventures have been limited to road trips the past year – but I’ve been fortunate to dine in all 50 states. I have overnighted in most – except Arkansas, Connecticut, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. They were just a quick bite as I drove through.
This past year provided a strong learning curve using new tools in technology and developing new ways to use socio-emotional skills in virtual platforms. I look forward to finding out what I’m going to learn next.
Where is the best place you’ve traveled to? Or where would you like to visit? A favorite escape was one fall Monday morning at 6 a.m., I boarded a 30-seater plane and flew to Morristown, New Jersey; I rented a car and went on a drive. I had breakfast in Mystic Seaport, lunch in Providence, dinner in Brattleboro (three states I had never been to). I spent the night in Vermont. The next morning went maple syrup tasting on Hogsback mountain. As I drove, I enjoyed the fall leaves and listened to the new CD I picked up in New Hampshire (Death Cab for Cutie). I drove back to Morristown, and I boarded the same 30-seater back home at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Eight states in 36 hours – bliss!
You have to wear a t-shirt with just one word on it for an entire year. What would that word be, and why? My three words to live by are Courage, Integrity, and Love… if I had to pick just one, I’d pick love. It really is all that matters. When you think about everyone you know… everyone wants to be loved. The world would be a better place if we all came from a place of love.
Share a fact about you that might surprise people to learn. I don’t know how to ride a bicycle. I was raised rurally, and I had a horse for transportation… no sidewalks… no paved roads… so no one road bicycles in my neighborhood.
What job have you held (besides ECC) that was the most fun, interesting, or difficult? Explain why. I came to ECC with a strong non-profit background – including a formative experience in college as a student worker in the foundation at Southern Oregon University, where I wrote grants for the professors. This was the beginning of my interest in working for a foundation, and this is why I want to support any student worker that wants to learn our business.
What was your most valuable life lesson? My dad always told the story that if everyone could write down their problems and put them onto the football field and then choose someone else’s, you'd go back and pick up your own again when they looked at what other people are dealing with. You never know what someone has lived through or is living with.
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because … At ECC, I learn something new every day. I meet people who are committed to making a difference in the lives of our students and our community. I’m looking forward to being able to connect with students again when we are fully re-opened, as those interactions give me so much joy.