Auction Fundraising Academy’s Staff Reflects on 2016

We thought we’d close out the year on a high note by sharing with you a little bit about each of us here at Auction Fundraising Academy. We hope you enjoy getting to know a bit more about us all. Happy New Year!

Reggie Rivers, President

Reggie_Rivers_CorporateKickOff_245x245What are you most grateful for this year? I’m grateful that we have built a team of passionate, hard-working people whose skill-sets complement each other and allow each of us to focus on our best talents. And we share uniform commitment to supporting each other as we give our clients the best possible service. Doing hard work without a strong, cohesive team would be draining and demoralizing. But when you’re working beside people who share your passion, the hard effort becomes invigorating and inspirational.

What team accomplishment are you most proud of this year? Our growth sparks the most pride for me. We’ve grown from seven auction events in 2013 to more than 70 in 2017, and along the way we’ve helped Colorado nonprofits raise tens of millions of dollars. It has been so refreshing and encouraging to see the effectiveness of our strategies, the success that we’ve shared with our clients, and the growth of our business. It wasn’t obvious at the beginning that we would be able to earn a living while doing good, but the past four years have truly shown us that nothing will grow our spirits, our passions and our business more than doing great work for the nonprofits who make such a difference for so many.

What inspires you?  I’m inspired by the commitment and can-do attitude of our team. Our work is complex. There are many moving parts. We do events on particular nights, in particular venues with particular clients, and they need to be booked 9- to 12-months in advance, and we need to schedule strategy meetings and final details calls, and perform on the day of the event and then follow up to ensure that we’ve delivered everything that the clients was expecting. And we can NEVER be wrong! For each client, their event is the single most important date on the calendar, so we have to make sure we are treating every client as if their event is the ONLY event on the calendar. It’s complicated and stressful, but our team manages nearly 200 total events each year (70 on the auction side and 130 other events), and they do it with great professionalism, creative problem solving, and the ability to treat each client event as if it’s the only one.

What is a New Year’s Resolution for 2017?   To become an even more deeply-embedded fundraising advisor for our clients. Our nonprofit partners work hard to put on these events, and they’ve got a lot of pieces to attend to. We do our best to say, “Leave the event fundraising to us. We have a lot of experience, great strategies and proven results. Let us take care of raising the money and you focus on ensuring that your guests have a fantastic time.”

What is your favorite thing about our clients?  Their passion for what they do. At the core of every nonprofit is the founder’s story. Why did they start this organization? Why did they take on this difficult mission? These stories are almost always profoundly personal, sometimes tragic, but always inspirational. That’s the heartbeat the drives them forward, and it’s an honor and a privilege for us to be able to support them on this journey.

Dani Espinosa, Business Development and Benefit Auctioneer

Dani_Espinosa_CorporateKickOff_002_533x533What are you most grateful for?  This year, I am most grateful for the opportunity to work with a variety of nonprofits. How could you not feel immense gratitude when you are supporting the amazing problem solvers of the world? Working with them has allowed me to see a different side to the world.

What team accomplishment are you most proud of this year?  I am so proud of how many times our team demonstrated a sense of urgency and generosity toward customer service. I’m very proud of the number of compliments I receive from clients about each of my team members.

What inspires you? I am inspired about how quickly the team can work together to get anything done.

What is a New Year’s Resolution for 2017? One of my New Year’s resolutions is to invest in more continuing education in my field.

What is your favorite thing about AFA clients?  My favorite thing about our clients is that they are all trying to do the right thing. Whether it’s to find the right speaker for their event or an auctioneer that will make the fundraising difference, they care so much and I love that.

Debra Park, Operations Manager

debra-park-245What are you most grateful for? Getting to work with so many amazing people whose goals are to help others.

What team accomplishment are you most proud of this year? The way everyone puts their best foot forward and works together to support the client in their efforts to raise money for their cause.

What inspires you? I love that I get to work with hard working, devoted and “make it happen” kind of people.

What is a New Year’s Resolution for 2017? Help each client go above and beyond their goals and this years results and develop processes that make it a smooth process for them.

What is your favorite thing about our clients? They selflessly work hard for the benefit of others.

Talene Jessica Weeks, Business Solutions Coordinator

Talene WeeksWhat are you most grateful for this year? This year, I’m most grateful for the opportunity to step into a world completely different than the one I’ve been immersed in for the last four years. I never thought I would have the opportunity to work in the business world as a licensed elementary school teacher, but this field has proven to ignite new passions I never knew I had. For that I’m extremely grateful.

What team accomplishment are you most proud of this year?  I’m truly amazed at the growth of the company. I started in July and in just a few months I’ve watch this company grow exponentially! I’m very proud and honored to be a part of team with such focus and desire for growth within the company and within themselves.

What inspires you? What inspires me most is my colleagues’ willingness to learn. The team never gives up or reaches, what I like to call, “learning capacity.” There is always an opportunity to learn – if you’re not learning, you’re not growing.

What is a New Year’s Resolution for 2017? A New Year’s Resolution for 2017 is to run a full marathon. Long distance running challenges me both mentally and physically. I’ve done six half marathons and I’m determined to complete a full this year!

What is your favorite thing about our clients? In a world where we are so often defined by the things that divide us, through our clients I have the privilege to see people from all different backgrounds, cultures, demographics, etc., unite despite their differences. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’re from, they are all focused on one thing which brings them together in the most beautiful way.


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