Welcoming our new program director - sara siegel
Last week we ran Laurin Macios’s farewell to Mass Poetry as she moved to New York. This week we are happy to introduce you to our new Program Director, Sara Siegel. Sara has spent the last three years as the Development and Alumni Relations Associate with School Year Abroad. It’s with a great deal of pleasure that we welcome her to Mass Poetry.
To allow you to get to know Sara, we asked her a few questions about her experiences and her expectations for her new role with Mass Poetry.
As you step into the position of Project Director, summarize your relevant work experience.
At Vermont Children's Trust Foundation I oversaw the weekend-long Polar Express Event, which has given me the experience needed for running large-scale events, like the SDOPs and the Poetry Festival. Much of this work involved volunteer management and building on relationships with community partners. While at School Year Abroad, I created and developed programs with a targeted group in mind, including Regional Young Alumni Meet-Ups and Alumni Feature Profiles. Implementing these programs has let me see them through from idea to development to creation to execution to evaluation, all of which I think are needed for the programs that Mass Poetry runs.
What do you feel are your strengths?
Creativity, Efficiency, Follow Through.
You’ve been part of the staff for a few days. What excites you most about your new position?
How enthusiastic everyone I've come in contact with is about both poetry as well as the organization. Everyone has great ideas about new ways to bring poetry to the people of Massachusetts.
Of all the positions you’ve held, which is most similar to Project Director at Mass Poetry? In what ways? In what ways is it different?
I think working as the Development and Alumni Relations Associate at School Year Abroad was the most similar, in that it involved program creation for specific audiences as well as large scale events. It was very different in terms of who our audience was, however. We worked solely with alumni and parents from our programs, while at Mass Poetry our audience is really everybody, from established poets to those just starting out, to those who don't yet know that poetry has something they'll relate to.
What do you expect to be the most time-consuming part of your new job?
Managing relationships and creating new ones with various poetry partners, venues, donors, poets, teachers, schools, etc. To really create a meaningful reciprocal relationship, it takes more than one touch-point per interaction.
You and Laurin have worked together for a few days. What have you spent the most time on?
Transitioning over the big picture stuff. We've looked at the website and email communication. We were also looking at the logistics of U35, which is coming up soon!
How do you see your academic background as being of value to you in your new job?
In undergrad I majored in Women's and Gender Studies, which, more than anything, opened my eyes to the multitude of ways that we each see and interact with the world. I think poetry does something similar, in that it allows for unique self-expression and also empathy and understanding - seeing aspects of yourself in someone else's work.
I earned a Masters in Public Administration, which stressed the importance of working with the population your organization serves as well as understanding board member responsibilities and researching available resources and finding ways to share them with other nonprofits. We're not in competition with each other but can work together for the same end goal.
Sara Siegel is a lifelong writer and crafter based in Somerville. After graduating with honors from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Women's and Gender Studies, she spent four years in NYC working at women's health organizations. She moved to Burlington, Vermont to earn a Masters in Public Administration at UVM. While there she worked at Vermont Children's Trust Foundation, a grant-making organization working with prevention programs throughout the state. Sara moved to Boston in 2012, and spent nearly three years as the Development and Alumni Relations Associate with School Year Abroad, a high school study abroad and homestay with campuses in China, France, Spain and Italy, where she helped grow the Young Alumni programming. Sara's short stories have been published in Wild Violet, Vantage Point, Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, and Cleaver Magazine. Her sketch comedy group, Mister Bismuth, can be seen performing at ImprovBoston in Cambridge.