Office of Advancement
Office of Advancement

ALTogether Now

Vol. 77 – December 7, 2020

exterior photo of Summerhill building



photo of Deanna Bennett

By Deanna Bennett, Executive Director, Office of the Vice-Principal

The value of service

Last, but certainly not least, on our list of values is Service.  In the Office of Advancement, "we are committed to working closely with internal and external stakeholders, alumni, donors, and friends in our community to address their needs and always provide high levels of service."

In ALTogether Now, Volume 19, Karen wrote a great article called What Customer Service Means to Me. She talked about service being the driving force behind all that we do in Advancement, and how it is the foundation upon which we earn the trust of our customers.  Karen challenged all of us to reflect on the service we provide to our customers — both internal and external — and to think critically about what we could all do to provide even better service, because "there is simply still room to grow." 

Well, I accepted this challenge and, upon reflection, I have identified five principles I am committing to uphold and that I think can make a huge impact on building a culture of service excellence:

Be attentive and responsive: When you are juggling a multitude of things it can be hard to give someone your undivided attention. (Just ask any mom!) While I am not perfect at this, I do know it's so important to stop what you are doing and listen, make people feel important and appreciated. Also be responsive — it’s a key factor in developing trust and building relationships. When others are depending on you, delays — or worse, no response — send the wrong message.  I read somewhere once that responsiveness is perception — either you see it, or it’s absent.  

Go the extra mile: We all know that when you go above and beyond what is expected — when we exceed expectations - we have more success. 

Be honest and be accountable: Make a personal commitment to follow through.  If things go wrong, apologize first, explain what happened (without blaming others), and then take action to make it right. 

Timeliness is respect: It's important we value the time of others just as we value our own time.  And remember, if you can’t be timely see 1, 2, and 3 above.

Coworkers are customers too: In her article, Karen mentioned hearing criticisms that Advancement professionals provide good customer service to alumni/donors, but are perhaps not as strong on customer service for internal stakeholders. We sometimes fail to realize that our colleagues are customers as well. How we interact with each other greatly impacts team effectiveness. Remember the golden rule: Treat others as you want to be treated.

In closing, service excellence is a way of thinking and working that we need to bring to everything we do. It is the integration of many things — communication, attitude, integrity, efficiency, effectiveness, collaboration, and reliability, to name a few — and it requires unwavering focus, commitment, and enthusiasm from everyone to provide the absolute best service experience to all of our stakeholders.

Validating our Advancement values & a reminder

Written by: Kate Bearse, Executive Assistant, Office of the Principal

We are continuing in our Validate phase of Advancement's Values. This is the last week that ALT will profile one of our five values before we move to the next phase in January.  

Each newsletter has included a call to action for Advancement staff to share a story or stories about an Advancement employee or group you believe exemplifies the value of the week. At the end of these five weeks, in our next phase — Socialize — we will (with permission) share stories, or quotes from the stories submitted.

This week we are focusing on Service. Please submit as many stories or examples as you would like through the survey provided.

Friendly reminder, you can still submit stories for the values previously talked about in ALTogether Now. Here are the links – Accountability, Collaboration, Inclusion, and Integrity.

CashGiving Tuesday - thank you

Written by: Leigh Kalin, Associate Vice-Principal Alumni Relations & Annual Giving

Please join me in thanking the many members of Advancement who came together to execute our Giving Tuesday campaign. Despite some challenging circumstances, team members stepped in to ensure that this solicitation made it out the door. We tried some new things and learned a great deal. We will build on this new knowledge for next years campaign! Special thank you to: 

Alex Beshara, Jodi Snowdon, Josh Adler, Kim Wilkinson, Rachel Deir, Ruth Dunley, Scott Anderson and Stephen Hornsby. 


Total Raised $102,414
Average Donation Amount $591.99
Median Donation Amount $200.00
Number of Donations 173

No Meeting Mondays

Intended to last at least until the end of August, meeting-free Mondays have been piloted since May. It is now time to determine if this strategy should continue.

The pilot was developed in response to Advancement staff expressing concern that meeting overload had become an even greater issue since we began working remotely. While there are many strategies that could address this challenge, given our interdependence on one another to advance our work, we felt the greatest likelihood of making a difference would result from a strategy we all shared. ALT therefore committed to piloting meeting-free Mondays across the Office of Advancement to combat meeting overload.

While we are not always able to influence the timing of meetings with our external stakeholders and campus partners, we committed to holding internal Advancement meetings other days of the week. Since late May, Mondays have been reserved for work that requires focus and high-level thinking — such as writing, strategic thinking/planning, analysis, coding, or complex projects. You could still interact with colleagues on Monday if you chose – through emails or quick phone calls for instance — but we made an internal commitment to being meeting free that one day each week.

Do you want this to continue? To help determine the future of meeting-free Mondays, please complete this very quick survey.

ConfettiAdvancement Holiday Extravaganza

We’re just a few days away from our annual year-end celebration! The main event will take place THIS Thursday (Dec. 10 from 11:00 am to noon.) The Flynn and Heney Award presentations will begin just after 11:30 am.

Adrianne Haslet

Thank you to everyone who came out to hear Adrianne Haslet speak last week. For those of you who were unable to participate in the live event, you can view the recording of her presentation until Thursday, Dec. 10. The link can be found in our Holiday Channel on Teams.

Advancement gives back

Also, we’d like to remind you that this year, instead of selecting a charity for everyone to support together, the Advancement Holiday Extravaganza Planning Committee has decided that we will invite everyone to support a charity of their choice, with a twist. In our Holiday Channel on Teams, there is a document that we are encouraging all to add their stories to. We are requesting that you pick a charity that is important to you and your family and write a short paragraph discussing the charity’s mission, and why you support it. We encourage everyone to choose someone else’s charity to support. If all participate, we should have nearly a hundred to choose from. You may leave your paragraph anonymous or add your name so someone can message you and let you know they supported your charity. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to any member of the committee.

Keep checking the Holiday Channel for new additions to our 5 Days of Holidays — including the family recipe swap, holiday-themed family-friendly crafts, and the ugly sweater contest.

Your Advancement Holiday Extravaganza Planning Committee,

Kate Bearse, Gage Benyon, Kymberly Cook, Maura Doyle, Natalie Minnema, Peggy Shanks, and Michelle White

Advancing your voice

In the Sept. 7 ALTogether Now newsletter, ALT introduced  Advancing Your Voice, an anonymous reporting tool or virtual suggestion box to provide you with additional ways to be heard. 

December marks the half way point of this six-month pilot, and we wanted to provide an update to Advancement staff on activity.  To date, we have received two reports, both were centered on concerns that there is a lack of staff recognition in Advancement.  These concerns have been taken seriously and ALT values employee recognition and will be having a conversation to determine a strategy for an entire employee recognition program.

Whenever you want to share your thoughts with us anonymously, just go to Advancing Your Voice to fill out the form. 

Diversity Calendar

The world is rich with diversity, which is reflected in the observances celebrated by its various cultures and populations. Here is a link to the 2020 Diversity Holidays to showcase the unique and amazing holidays from around the world. 


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 Carla or the hiring manager for the position you are interested in.

Available Position:

Administrative Assistant, Annual Giving and Young Alumni Annual Giving January 4, 2021 6

photo of a stack of tricolour yearbooksFun fact

University Club at Queen's 

Called the Faculty Club until 1994, this social club offers year-round facilities for dining and relaxing for members and their guests. Faculty, administrators, alumni, and full-time staff are eligible to join and the club's facilities are also available to non-members for catered special events.

Officially a non-profit corporation, the club's full name is the University Club at Queen's, Inc. It was founded as the Faculty Club in 1949 and first met in the Students' Memorial Union (now the John Deutsch University Centre). In 1969 it moved to its present home, a striking waterfront house at 168 Stuart Street.