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Life as an admin in the nonprofit world

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

While working on her master’s degree in public health at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., Olivia Lane was eager to get more public health experience. After a job search, she found her way to Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance (OHKA), where an administrative position for project assistant had just opened up.

The organization is dedicated to creating safe and healthy homes for families in Omaha through lead-level monitoring, education, services accessibility and policy work. Its initiatives include assessing and educating families about in-home asthma risks, referring families to health and remediation services, outreach to the Latino community on environmental health risks and other projects.

With that much going on, a person in Lane’s position needs to be flexible. A typical day might include managing meetings, ordering supplies, working with vendors and checking on bills and invoices, she says. She also schedules client in­­­takes and healthy home assessments, as well as helps out with other projects. Much of her work consists of “putting pieces together” and finding ways to reduce the load on others. In addition, she finds ways to help personalize the client experience by paying attention to details, promoting teamwork and creating cohesion.

The organization is growing quickly, and that can bring unique challenges, Lane says. “Keeping up with grants and budgets, developing new systems and procedures— these things are challenging, but it’s a good challenge. It lets us know we’re growing and developing as we serve the needs of our clients and community.

“I’ve worked in corporate environments, and now, working for a nonprofit, I see that change happens quickly and often,” she says. “Some­­times it can be demanding because it’s so fast paced, which I didn’t know coming in,” she says. Lane says it sometimes feels like there’s always something that needs to be done. “On the corporate side, things can be a little more routine—but what I’m doing now, there’s never a dull moment, which I can appreciate, as I’m not one for routine.”

Lane describes working at OHKA as a blessing both professionally and personally. She says the team atmosphere and passion people bring to their work make it a vibrant environment. “With all of us passionate about our goals and missions, addressing the needs to marginalized and underserved communities here in Omaha, helps us serve them with the respect and dignity they deserve,” she says.

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