Office of Advancement
Office of Advancement

ALTogether Now

Vol. 23 – November 4, 2019

Advancement Leadership Team
Advancement Leadership Team: Steve Hornsby, Leigh Kalin, Scott Anderson, Karen Bertrand, Deanna Bennett, and Tom Hewitt

A Challenge to Innovate

By Steve Hornsby, Executive Director, Advancement Services

Leigh Kalin

As some of you might know, I am a devoted student of the teachings of Calvin and Hobbes. Along with his best pal Hobbes, Calvin’s sense of adventure, exploration, and imagination captured the hearts of millions of fans who were devoted to the comic strip. Of course, Calvin was also prone to epic and hilarious fails, falls, and other trials. The great thing about Calvin is that he always bounced back.

The ALT team has been pondering the subject of innovation lately and asking the question, do we have a culture of innovation? And, perhaps more importantly, do we support a culture of innovation? Most definitely, we see innovative approaches across our programs, but fair questions nonetheless. What stifles innovation? From the brief reading I have done on the subject, there are many contributors, a lack of time to devote to new ideas, no budget, no room in the current slate of offerings, poor support and reception from colleagues and management or perhaps you’re experiencing a simple lack of mental bandwidth (my particular challenge of late it seems).

Of course, the other major contributor that stifles innovation is the fear of failing. Most of us don’t like to fail, including me, because it’s uncomfortable and feels like a setback. However, when I reflect back on those times when I tried something new and failed, the learning was undoubtedly invaluable as I contemplated new ideas and approaches. There is the conundrum. We have to accept that some well-considered ideas simply won’t work – but pick up the pieces and keep pushing in the spirit of continuous innovation. A drive for innovation will not be successful unless we accept and embrace the potential to fail.Calvin and Hobbes

Some of you may have heard of the Freedom Friday initiative in ITM. In a nutshell, the unit was given the freedom to research something innovative or interesting or a new skill or tool, recognizing that IT is an ever changing field and we can sometimes get stuck in a rut of doing everything the way it has always been done. We created a guidelines document, dedicated “away" space and time, rules of engagement, and opportunities to later showcase the ideas generated. And what happened? It failed. Why did it fail? The main reason was that competing demands consistently put pressure on our ability to dedicate time to this initiative. Innovation is truly a commitment that we must consider core to our collective operations.                  

The Advancement Leadership Team is committed to fostering a culture of continuous innovation where there are opportunities for, and reception to new idea generation that will move our business forward. While this cannot happen overnight, we have an opportunity that might move the dial forward in the near term. 

Mid-year projections of Advancement’s operating budget suggest that we will see a modest incremental surplus over and above our normal and responsible reserve levels. It is ALT’s intention to consider innovative uses for these funds in this fiscal year that help move the business forward – but only if you promise to help.

This is our innovation challenge to you. By Tuesday, Nov. 12, please submit your innovation idea(s) to Kate Bearse with Moving Forward in the subject line. Work alone, with colleagues or your manager. Explore, be adventurous, and be imaginative. Try not to get bogged down in the weeds if you don’t have all the details resolved – focus on the idea. We hesitated to set a budget target, so let us know if you anticipate associated costs. We look forward to your ideas and reporting back.

Data Governance and Data Quality Training Opportunities

Thanks to Barb for identifying a number of upcoming sessions mentioned at the FIPPA Contacts Network meeting last week. People interested in records management, CASL, FIPPA, and PHIPA and generally anyone that intersects with personal information (really all of us) should find these sessions valuable. In addition, there is a contract session for those of us involved with binding documents. See you there.

Privacy Legislation

Records Management


Go Tableau!

A nod to Viki Andrevska in Law who recently shared her evolving work on a very exciting Insights Advancement project with the ITM team. The visualization captures data from an Alumni Homecoming Survey for Law graduates. This will allow for multiple views across different class and demographic cohorts. Viki will be presenting her work to the Dean and other faculty colleagues in a week, which will inform future programming decisions. Great work and thanks for sharing!

An Hour with Jon and Paul

As part of the Advancement Services Learning Forum, Jon and Paul will be hosting a session in December to share answers to commonly asked Service Desk questions. Please share with us some of the topics you would like to see covered by completing this brief survey.

THRIVE: A Week of Wellness

Thrive is a week of wellness activities organized by Human Resources that will take place Nov. 4 to  Nov. 8, 2019. The goal of Thrive week is to increase awareness, provide education and talk about positive mental health. Part of thriving is being aware of your own mental health. 

Some events include:

  • Kick-off event: Free apple cider and granola bars;
  • Keynote speaker Francoise Mathieu;
  • Interactive yoga in the Agnes;
  • Free massages.

For more information, including other events, dates and how to register, check out the THRIVE web page.

Jobs with Advancement

We need your recruitment help. Know great talent that would be a good addition to our team? If so, please promote the vacancy below with your networks and let’s find some amazing new team members.

Applications (including a cover letter and resume) must be submitted through CareerQ. For additional information on this posting, please reach out to either Katelyn, Carla, or the hiring manager for the position you are interested in.

Available Position:


Executive Director, Principal Gifts

Principal Gifts, Department of Development Monday, Nov. 4 12

    Willie, Smiliest DogFun Fact:

    Amber Palmer's dog, Willie, won the Smiliest Dog Contest by the Ottawa Humane Society in 2006.