Featured Fíontan: Meet Kelly Vanison

You’re a relatively recent hire here as a senior project manager. How’d you learn about Fíonta and what attracted you to us? 

I was referred to the company by a Fíonta employee. After researching the company’s website – and reading the “Life at Fionta” page with its values – I was immediately attracted!  But what I found most impactful in making a decision on accepting the position was the people at Fíonta during my interview!  Everyone was consistently respectful, transparent, and kind. During my interview process, I felt they not only wanted to know what my qualifications were but also wanted to know who I was as a person. That carries a lot of weight. Most companies want to fill an empty seat, Fionta wanted more than that! They were looking for someone who was not only qualified but who believed in the company values.  

You’ve worked in the nonprofit sector for quite some time. How did you become interested in nonprofits? 

I have always felt it is hard to make a change by yourself, but if you gathered a group of liked minded people you can make a change. That is how I feel about the nonprofit sector—the organizations are making changes in different ways to make the world a better place for everyone to live a healthy meaningful life.

You jumped right in on some of our biggest projects. What are some standout moments so far?

When you are new, everything seems very overwhelming. My standout moment was when I was requested to be put on a big project within my first month because the scope was getting larger with all the different requests from the client. Prior to joining the project my line manager talked to me and said “This will be a difficult project, I do not want you to internalize the situation and have a negative impression of Fionta, since you are new.” This stood out to me because while keeping the client’s needs in mind, my manager was truly living the values at Fíonta.  Needless to say, I am currently on the project and have learned about and I am enjoying it!

I know you have a background in the arts – tell me more!

My first passion is theater and dance. But I come from a fairly musical family. My father was in a bluegrass band. There are a lot of singers in the family (I am not one of them) and my stepson has his own metal band. I liked being on stage and getting into character. 

What are your professional goals over the next year or so?

Well, I am currently studying for my PMP so my other goals after are:

  • Get my Salesforce Admin Certification
  • Become a Scrum Master

Which of Fíonta’s core value(s) strikes closest to home for you? Why?

Do what’s right even when hard, Assume positive intent and Always be improving. These are three core values that my parents instilled in me as a child. These are the same values that I work hard every day to instill in my family now. 

Assume positive intent: this is a must, or you will see the world with a jaded eye and nothing will get accomplished.

Do what’s right even when hard: this is empowering and should be a core value of every human being, I always tell my son – “Good people do the right thing, even when no one is watching”. 

Always be improving: everyone has room for improvement and I feel that gives you something to look forward to in life. If you have a chance to improve that means you are still living, and you haven’t lost the battle!

When you’re not managing projects with aplomb, how do you like to spend your time?

With my sweet but busy son and family, practicing the cello, reading, meditating, and trying different recipes (I love cookbooks).

Movies or live theater?

Live theater of course!

Traditional or modern dance?

Modern meaning the Modern dance method by Martha Graham. The dance doesn’t limit dancers to being ballerinas. It is less restrictive and more expressive and primitive, and I think it is just simply beautiful.

Milk or dark chocolate?

I laugh at this because this will get the staff in another uproar (when I posted I did not like ice cream)- I am not a huge fan of chocolate- but I would definitely prefer milk chocolate over dark.

Cable or streaming?

Streaming cable is the devil.

Favorite nut butter?

Sunflower Seed butter!! I love raw sunflower seeds!