Episode 1: System Selection and Implementation with Karen Guile

For the first episode of The More Good Podcast, we sat down with Karen Guile, Grants Administration Manager at Health Forward Foundation, to talk about the Foundations journey from knowing they needed a new GMS solution, through the selection process, and into a difficult implementation. 


We discussed: 

  • The triggers for needing to move to a new GMS: cloud-based solutions, sunsetting systems, wanting more out of the technology. Understanding that the need to move is never “just about a database.” 
  • The importance of internal alignment when making big technology decisions. 
  • The often rocky path from selection through to implementation and adoption. 

Note: there are some minor issues with the audio quality in this episode—our apologies! We’re still learning how to get the best sound for our listeners. This conversation is definitely too good to skip, so we did our best to edit around some of the glitches. 

Learn more at healthforward.org

Come see us at PEAK2021! We’re thrilled to be leading a session on May 6th at 3pm, Where Intention Meets Action: Operationalizing Trust Based Philanthropy. Or swing by the exhibitor hall to chat with one of our friendly team members.

Episode One Transcript: 

Karen Guile:

As grantmaking organizations who are trying to make determination on a new solution, new database, it's a big expense. And we talk all the time about out of the box. I mean, what does it cost out of the box? What's the solution out of the box? And the truth is, there's very few solutions that can meet your needs out of the box. So you've got to just get out of that mindset and think about what do we need and does this fit it? And what does it take to get there.

James Law:

In philanthropy, the path from setting strategy to seeing success can be a little difficult. Here we dig into the experiences of grantmakers, figuring out this journey for themselves to help us all better understand how to operationalize our mission and our vision. I'm James Law, Director of Innovation here at Grantbook and this is the More Good Podcast.

We sat down with Karen Guile, Grants Administration Manager at Health Forward Foundation, to talk about the foundation's journey from knowing they needed a new GMS solution through the selection process and into a difficult implementation. We talked about the triggers of knowing you need to move to a new GMS, the importance of internal alignment when making such big technology decisions, and the often rocky path from selection through to implementation, because it's never just about a simple database. 

Note for this recording we have some minor issues with the audio quality, our apologies. We're still learning how to get the best sound for our listeners. This conversation is definitely too good to skip, so we've done our best to edit around some of those glitches so bear with us.

James:

So hi Karen.

Karen:

Hi James. It's good to see you. It's a sad thing that the good listenership out there doesn't have that opportunity to see you.

James:

Oh my gosh. You're so nice. You're way too kind. We should start with, how are you holding up? How are things? It's a strange time when this is going on right now. So how have things been?

Karen:

It has been a very strange time. I think our organization's holding up as best can be expected, and there's been some unintended benefits as well as consequences. And personally the family is doing all right, and it's just, you know, humans can adapt to anything.

James:

No, I know. You're a resilient person Karen, which is why I'm so glad that you're able to join us for this; our sort of inaugural, if you will, session of this podcast. You were high on my mind because I think we had a really good time working together what feels like forever ago, but apparently it was only 2018 when we looked at our history.

But you're always so daring and honest and you have always been quite candid. Those are Grantbook values but also I think it's really worth then bringing out some of your perspectives on what seems to be the hard work behind a lot of change when we talk about technology and philanthropy. So maybe we can start off with that Karen. Do you want to talk a little bit about yourself, who you are, where you work, your journey, how you got there?

Karen:

Of course. My name is Karen Guile, I'm the Grants Administration Manager of Health Forward Foundation, located in Kansas City, Missouri, the Midwest of the United States for the international listenership there. We're a conversion foundation meaning we got our assets from a sale of a non-profit entity to a for-profit entity. And the proceeds from the sale went into a conversion foundation which is us, and we have a sister foundation in the area as well. And our focus is on health and eliminating barriers and promoting quality health for our target populations. I've been with the foundation almost since inception. So since they started grantmaking. I implemented MicroEdge GIFTS 15 years ago, almost 16 years ago for the foundation. And we started grantmaking with that database at the very beginning, and I've been there ever since. And I've seen some things James. Seen some things over the years.

James:

Yeah. You're kind of watching a foundation essentially go from being born to adolescent. And those teenage years, individually and maybe organizationally are always really difficult. A lot of identity changes, figuring out how to be in this world. So when we first started working together I want to... because I feel there's so much good stuff there that we can get to.

So when we first met, it was 2018. We met in an interesting way because there was some back and forth about should we work together, shouldn't we. But largely the context was that you needed a new grants management system. But I think maybe you now know, and we know that it's never just that. There's always a number of things coming up, and then people say, oh, maybe we can just get a new grants management system. So do you want to talk a little about that for our listeners and your peers? How did you see yourself getting to that point? What were those triggers?

Karen:

Well, the trigger for moving to a new system was basically just the trend in grantmaking philanthropy, where everyone was going to cloud-based solutions, our solution, our database GIFTS was sunsetting. We were growing as a foundation and wanted more out of a system. Talking about our relationship with Grantbook. I think the best thing about having you as our consultant is the way you approach your work, the way Grantbook approaches the work is just like you said, it's never just about a database. And you approach your consulting work holistically, and you're looking at the foundation as a whole and not that you know this one system isn't going to solve everything, so you best have a strategy.

That was probably the most beneficial thing that we took away from our relationship. Because I think we were just looking at it as an everything solution. And it really eliminated that issue for us.

James:

And maybe thinking back now when we went through this process, maybe I have some thoughts. But how was that shift like for you? Because you're right. Often we come in, we're like, "Okay. Let's find a new solution." And then we start digging, or not digging, we just get to know each other. I think that's really what it is. We get to know each other a lot better and then things start to emerge. Oh, maybe there's just a little inconsistency here or it sounds maybe this person hasn't been listened to in the past. There's something going on. Looking back, what does that feel like for you now, or maybe what are those key moments that call back to you as you think about how we work together?

Karen:

So our process was kind of, ladies and gentlemen, James Law was our consultant before he was promoted up and-

James:

Oh my gosh.

Karen:

So we were in the lucky years of consulting with Grantbook. Just kidding, all Grantbook consultants are fabulous. James was on-site, which is one important piece I think. I didn't even write that down in my notes but thinking it through is absolutely critical. Having that engagement face-to-face was really huge I think, because you did get to know us.

So the process, I know anybody who goes through this understands there's a requirement gathering step where our consultants spoke to every different department in our foundation and asked them, what are your needs? And that's when you uncover things. There's people like me who might be loud and not too shy to shout what I want from the rafters, but there are others who are maybe more timid or don't even know what's possible. That this is the technology that can provide it. And talking with a consultant, they're more at ease and there's more of a back and forth and the consultant can give them examples and stuff and they're like, "Oh, I never even knew that was possible. That's what I want." And so that gathering requirements is really important and it's important that you do it with each department and that there's some confidence there. It's confidentiality and they're free to speak up.

And then the thing that was probably the most impactful for me personally was James took us through a staff alignment process. You're bringing into the requirement stage what you want personally and what's important to your work. And then you're sitting around the table and you're having a staff alignment and you're beginning to see it's not just all about me, it's about the organization as a whole. And you prioritize all those requirements and the must haves versus the really would be nice to have versus, well, if we could. But you prioritize those and you come to a decision as a foundation, as a whole group. And that was huge for me because the selection wasn't one that I would have chosen for myself, but I had recognized that it is best for our organization as a whole. And so that was pretty huge for me. And then the vendor demos were actually the worst parts of this. Oh man, they're painful guys. They're very painful.

As grantmaking organizations who are trying to make determination on a new solution, new database, it's a big expense. And we talk all the time about out of the box. I mean, what does it cost out of the box? What's the solution out of the box? And the truth is, there's very few solutions that can meet your needs out of the box. So you've got to kind of get out of that mindset and think about what do we need and does this fit it? And what does it take to get there to make those two things meet in the middle. So those are probably my biggest, most impactful moments.

James:

I want to come back a bit to one thing you said, and if you'll let me, maybe we can probe there a little bit. I remember that decision-making session, the alignment that you talked about. I think it was down to two or maybe three. And I think one got eliminated pretty quickly in that alignment session. And I knew there was a direction you really wanted to head in. And even to be honest as a consultant, I think we are friends, it's hard to separate that some days but I had to. And I remember after the choice went a certain direction that was aligned, I was actually a little concerned. I was like, "Are you feeling okay about that?" I don't want to put feelings on this but it felt...

Karen:

I was near tears, people. I mean, I was like, oh man.

James:

It felt like you were very emotionally involved and that shows passion, which I love. But I feel like I've worked with other people that end up in that same place. So if you don't mind, maybe we can just talk a little bit about that. Did you know that was coming? How did you process it in the moment and maybe did you process it afterwards?

Karen:

First of all, I guess we should clarify. I was the project manager and the person responsible for this; the whole process, selection, implementation, all that and still am, unfortunately. But that moment I remember very, very well, and honestly, if we hadn't had that alignment session, I probably would have fought tooth and nail for the other one. That alignment process you took us through, that really helped me understand that there's more to this than just the grantmaking pieces. To give everyone a little more understanding, we were looking to streamline grantmaking processes, but also increase the learning exchange between our foundation and our partners and hopefully maybe use technology to do so. And also increase opportunities for integrated and innovative thinking, and improve associate access to activity and relationship information that contributes to advancing our mission. So those were some of our goals in finding a solution. And so it's bigger than just grantmaking. And so I had to realize that. But without that alignment session, it could have been different.

James:

Yeah. I think you were very bold and you were very... I don't have the word off the tip of my tongue right now. But I think you managed to put yourself aside very well in that situation. But it's good to hear that these choices aren't emotionless, and that I think especially in a values-driven sector, we all are in this sector for a reason. It's hard to not attach yourself to the work and the decision as a result. So you went through all that, it was fun, it was emotional.

Karen:

Oh yes.

James:

And then we had to... well, we didn't, you had to. You had to implement the dang thing.

Karen:

The difficult decision and the emotion, that was the easy part. Now, we're getting into the hard part.

James:

Maybe let's talk a little bit about that. When you went into an implementation, because this is so critical for people to understand, what did you think it was going to be like, and then what actually happened compared to that? I'm so curious about your perspective at this point.

Karen:

A part of the other scope of work you guys did for us, it wasn't just about selecting a vendor, but it was also you're helping us prep. To be prepared to move to a new system, so help us talk through how to cleanse our data and prioritize what we take over. Do we archive data? Do we move everything over? So we had a lot of those conversations. So going into it, I felt pretty darn good because I felt like I had such a great relationship with Grantbook, not just James, but the other... we had a change management consultant Tierney, and we had Anil who was helping us with the data, and we had a really cohesive, wonderful team. And it was a joy to work with you, and I felt like you got us. You got our foundation incredibly well.

So I was maybe feeling overconfident going into the implementation, because it was with a different implementation partner. We really struggled with the implementation because I don't know if there's something to be said for too much prep work, because the implementation partner, I think we had already done so much of what they typically do at the onset of gathering requirements and talking to staff and getting everything ready, data cleaning. And so they chose to alter their normal process, I think to the detriment of the project. We didn't have the face-to-face time that we normally do. I think that maybe they were juggling too much as well because like I said, this is the time where foundations are moving to new solutions like crazy, so everybody's in high demand, consultants are in high demand, everybody's plate's pretty full.

The implementation was difficult. I don't think the partner was a good fit, I think we had some miscommunications from the beginning and I don't think we effectively managed what we had with you, with Grantbook and what we were embarking on with the implementation partner. I think we could have bridged it better or maybe even contracted with you to do more because I was floundering. I don't have a whole lot of technology experience. I'd never been through an implementation of this scope, and there was so much I didn't know and I just felt like I was in the blind the whole time without you. Because you were there to explain everything to me. You could always say, "This is what it's intended to do. This is what they're really asking. This is what it translates to. Here are your options."

And during the implementation, I just felt like I was just walking out on a ledge and just had to trust them. Because internally, we don't have any IT staff and we don't have anyone with deep database knowledge. At the end of the day, we were able to launch but it was only maybe 30% of what we had hoped to have accomplished by the time that contract ended. So knowing that our foundation doesn't have a lot of expertise or capacity for IT and database, we found a consultant closer to us that was a better fit, and so we've been working with them the last year to really get things to how we wanted them and maybe think things through differently than we were thinking at the time. So maybe there was a lesson learned and some benefit to it not going as planned.

Point of the story is to find a good fit for your consultant. I mean, really, really vet them. Sometimes there's consultants that have great reputations that are really, really big, but is that the best fit for you, or you're better with maybe a smaller firm that's closer by and can do some face-to-face time with you? Things like that.

James:

I think that's such a good perspective and I really like the point that you brought up. And I think this question intersects with that point about how if you go from GIFTS to something else, this is probably the largest technology change and implementation that a foundation has been in maybe decades. And secondly, for the individual, in this case, you being that brave individual, Karen, you haven't taken on an enterprise-wide implementation for a really long time. Sometimes it doesn't matter how much time you throw at someone, it's a big deal for you both maybe from a work perspective but also from a capacity perspective. I imagine it's a little emotionally and mentally draining. It's a lot.

Karen:

It is. And I couldn't stress enough the importance of assessing the complexity of the solution you need or want I guess, versus your organization's own capacity to maintain it or customize it versus also the solution may come with support, but is the quantity and the quality and the cost of that support sufficient for your needs? So when you're assessing the solutions and you're stacking against each other, there's... lots of vendors have ongoing support and some solutions require that you have other implementation partners, other consultants or whatever. But dig into that and have a good idea on what's the true cost. This ongoing support license or contract might be five grand a year, but do you have to augment it? And do you need IT staff on hand to translate things that they're going to bring to the table or to speak to them so that they understand your needs? So things like that. It just really illuminated a gap in our own structure.

James:

Definitely. Those are all really good points. I love the total cost and what are you actually getting and do those models work together. Support can mean so many things. So maybe one way to talk about this is, 2018, 2019, it's 2020 going to 2021, I don't like to ask the question ever, was it the right choice because I think there are multiple right choices. Was it a good choice? And if yes or if no, have things changed to affect that? When you look back, hindsight's 2020, what do you see?

Karen:

I don't actually think this was in the list of questions we had prepped for, but I had a feeling you'd ask, James, so I was contemplating that just a little while ago before we talked. I had to look deep and it's not the choice I would have made, but I think it is the right choice for our organization. It comes with a lot of complexities, and there's a lot of things we need to figure out. But those lists of original requirements that James Law collected himself still hold. Those are still values and ones that we have, and if this is the solution that can provide them for us then it's got to be the best one. It's just, I also have an understanding of what it's going to take to tease the functionality out of the system. Because it might not come easily made and you might need consultants or architects even.

James:

Yeah. It takes time. Often at Grantbook here, one thing we've started talking to a lot of people about is a system implementation, you pick something, then you start working on something, and then as you had mentioned, you find problems. But then you're starting just to like both organizational and technical. And so what you're doing through the whole process and Karen it sounds like you're still in the seat here for this, is you're kind of working through those, and technology is just kind of bringing it to the forefront and helping you discuss them. But anyone maybe who thinks that you're going to pick something and then be done in six months and everything's going to be perfect I think Karen Guile's got news for you.

Karen:

Karen Guile's got bad news for you. But I was just thinking of, first of all not only that but the technical landscape changes so quickly now too, that once you figure out what you want to do, everything's changed. So we implemented a solution, literally six or eight months later, they wanted a sunset exit. They were acquired and then they wanted to sunset. So I went through another mini implementation and changed the portal. So we rebuilt a grantee portal just recently. So I just finished that on Friday, last Friday.

So it's never ending guys, there's always something, but this is something that makes me laugh every time I think about it. So when James was there, he would tell us the lifespan of the new technology or what'd you call it? I can't remember. It's like the bell curve and in the middle is the trough of disillusionment. I always thought that was the greatest name ever, and I always thought I'd swear I'm going to spend like 90% of my time, but I don't even think we've gotten there, James. I wanted to share that with you. I have not felt disillusioned yet, and so that's saying something.

James:

Well, I think you also have a really good personality. And again, one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you about this is because I think you have some of those elements of what we always talk about in organizations. To say, hey, you're going to need to be flexible, things are going to change. Even the best advice that a consultant can give you is based off what they know now. And large companies that are in San Francisco, they are going to make choices and those choices will have consequences and an organization just needs to be able to accept that as truth and manage it.

And I think Karen, you've always been so good at just calling out the hits, calling out where it's not good and expectations were met and where there's friction, but you keep going ahead and I think that's why you're so critical to today's conversation, because I think your attitude is very important if anyone is going to be pursuing this sort of change in their organization.

Karen:

Well, thank you.

James:

You're welcome. We learned a lot from that about your solutions.

Karen:

Yeah, we did.

James:

About certain assumptions about things that won't change in larger organizations.

Karen:

And don't think that I took it that easily. There was a lot of drinking and crying at times.

James:

I was going to say, I think you just went through tiny troughs. I think you just went through a few tiny troughs and you've gone back to productivity every time. 

Speaking of a lot of tiny troughs, a lot of change. So you went from GIFTS to this other solution, and then you had a consultant implementation partner, went to another partner, part of the product got deprecated, had to redo something. Lot of change both from a user standpoint but also probably organizationally. So let's talk a little bit about that. How have you found both yourself dealing with change, helping your organization deal with change and how has the organization moved through all of this?

Karen:

It was slow at the beginning. One of your questions is, what is your favourite change management tip or trick? A pandemic. Because it was like necessity may be the mother of invention but it's the bossy little sister of change management. It was like, "No, you have to do it. Mom says now." Literally the pandemic made us use this system a lot more because we're all remote now and we're not in person. It was kind of like pulling teeth before this, and I think that the culture of your organization is really important to how you approach change. Like I said, we've been around about 15 years and I would say gosh, at least probably 60% or more of our staff, we have 27 people on staff, have been there for like ten years and more. Old timers.

We've been there a long time, and so we've gone through a lot together and the feeling of ownership's incredibly high at the foundation. And so we've also kind of perpetuated bad behavior for a long time, bad habits. And so change for us is really hard. Nobody comes into a foundation that's like a family and says, you're doing it this way now and it works well. So you have to take baby steps in order to preserve that culture as well.

It was slow going at the beginning, and honestly the pandemic force to work remotely really helped the change management and the adoption of a lot of the functionality we've been building. And I think once you can get them to use it, then you can sell it. You can sell it and say this is way more productive and this is easier and you'll see the benefits. And I think once they use it, that happens. But getting them to use it is the hardest part.

And so I think if you don't happen to have a pandemic handy, I think probably the best thing is actually having a very candid conversation with your leadership and the supervisors and setting expectations and accountability and making a priority that by this month, we're going to be using it and I'm going to be holding you accountable in your performance review next year. You don't have to go that strict, but I'm going to be holding you accountable, I'm going to be looking, this is how I expect this work to be done now. And I think you really need the sponsorship of someone on the leadership to kind of help enforce the change and then make it fun too. If you can set milestones and make it fun. Tierney on your team really helped us with that and helped us come up with a plan. So those are some of my insights on change.

James:

And how is that working through all those consultants? Because that's also a lot of change. And I don't know. If you have a good experience and then not so good and then there's also sort of maybe... I don't know if trust issues are the right word, but there may be perceptions of what outsiders or outside consultants can actually do for an organization. So what was that kind of like?

Karen:

That is a good point. So what's really difficult is having to do the whole learning phase over and over again. So your organization came in, and you came in and you really learned about us. We talked about it. Well, doing that over and over again gets old, I'm not going to lie. But also being forced to go through that process helps you understand when it's going to take and it's going to be a good relationship and when it's not. And because I had such a good experience with Grantbook... by the way, they're not paying me to mention their name or give them prompts, even though they should.

James:

We appreciate the shout out as always, Karen. Yeah, totally. We're not paying her. This is a conversation.

Karen:

It was absolutely genuinely the best consulting experience I've had, so that's why I was more than willing to do this. But that's also how you know when you have a bad experience is... I don't think I would have known at the beginning, but now I do. You know what I mean? I had such a good relationship with you, then we had the relationship with the implementation partner wasn't great, and now we have a really good relationship with our current consultants. What is common about the two good relationships is, they really understand the way we work and took the time to figure it out. And to ask the questions that aren't just strictly about technology, but are about culture and about the way you work and what you value.

And I think that's how you recognize when a consultant is good or not. I don't know how you manage when you're in the midst of a battle. I mean, because it's hard to just scrap everything. You can't do that. And we tried to course correct many times over the implementation and we just couldn't get there. So I'd love to hear your take on how you get that relationship on track, and get the project on track if you don't have that natural relationship that we had.

James:

It's a little hard to say because I think this comes from a place of our ignorance to a certain point. We often get brought in when things aren't working. So we didn't work on your implementation together, but on other ones that we've worked on, we often get brought in because there's just something a little off about it, people don't feel like they're making progress so we often get brought in to help just troubleshoot a bit.

What I will say is common or a bit more common amongst the clients we've worked with who have been in this situation. It really had come back down to expectations about the level of effort that the foundation would be required to give in the implementation, and what every phase means in a non-technical way. And I think that's really what's troubling. Right?

Karen:

Right.

James:

So you have a lot of folks that say, "We're going to go build something and then you're going to test it." And then people test it and they click through it and they're like, "Yeah, it's working." And then they move on. And the client and the foundation is like, "Wait, what do you mean where we're moving on? What about our forms? Or I want it to change something. What about all of that?" And sometimes those expectations just aren't clear, and so there's just a language bridge. You mentioned it earlier, Karen. You kind of need someone who can speak to both and say to you, this is what they mean when they want you to do this. This is what they mean when they want you to test this. So I feel like that's often missing. So to turn the ship around, you need to find someone either in your organization or really direct with the implementation partner that that translation is missing, and someone needs to take responsibility for that.

Karen:

I mean, it really resonated when you said, just understand the phases. I mean, I struggled with that for months. Can somebody tell me what I'm supposed to do to have it ready? Whatever I need prepared for you, prepared by whatever phase. And I don't understand what is underneath the phases and what it means to me. I totally agree. If I could have done anything, I wish we would have pulled you in and said something's not working. I pull my leadership in, have a conversation with them. We did it twice. And I really wish because I don't think I could ever put my finger on what was wrong, and then somebody who had both understanding of the technology, what it takes to build a database, customize your solution and then knowledge of our foundation and how we work. You had all three and so you probably could've put a finger on like, this is what's wrong but couldn't do much, to my regret.

James:

Well, we're through it now, or you're through it now.

Karen:

Yes.

James:

And I think that's always worth celebrating.

Karen:

Amen. That's right.

James:

All right. And we're going to choose a few quick ones here. You already told us your favourite change management tip or trick which is a pandemic. But barring that, you told the...

Karen:

It works, don't knock it.

James:

Yeah. I know. Once in a lifetime. So everyone should have already implemented something about a year ago. But maybe we can talk a little bit about, if you could change one thing right now about how the tech is working for you, what would you point to that you could change?

Karen:

My own training and expertise. So I'm sure a lot of people who would listen to this would probably be in a similar situation. You have a certain role, there's responsibilities thrust on top of it. The other stuff's not taken away, your other responsibilities aren't taken away, so you have this on top of that and you don't understand your new solution at all. And it's a frustrating thing in the entire world to not be able to manage your own solution when you're used to it, but you don't have time to do Salesforce certification.

I don't know if I was supposed to mention the solution we have, but we did go with Salesforce with foundationConnect and they are going to begin sunsetting foundationConnect at some point just so you guys know. But they're still supporting it, they're just not improving it. So good times. But the fact is that I don't know Salesforce and I don't know foundationConnect and there's no documentation for the two of them integrated together and if you didn't have a consultant, I think it'd be incredibly difficult to learn. And so it's just finding that knowledge, the one thing that's helped to found groups out there. So other foundations use the same solution, they have chat rooms or whatever they call those things these days.

James:

It's 1997, we're all going to use chat rooms.

Karen:

I've never been in a chat room. I don't know why I said that.

James:

You're hilarious.

Karen:

Anyway. User groups. Whatever. I don't know. And so it feels great to have that support. So if you can find those, that's another good tip.

James:

Perfect.

Karen:

Find some chat rooms guys.

James:

Yeah. They may not be appropriate for your day-to-day work at this point.

Karen:

May not be.

James:

Yeah. Outside of Salesforce, what else are you folks using? I'm just curious, have you got any other systems now or?

Karen:

Not systems per se. We have a couple of integrations with Salesforce to help us do electronic signature, grant agreements and stuff, to do mass editing or updating. So we use DocGen or Nintex for the document generation and they work with Adobe to do an electronic signature process. And then we use GridBuddy, and I think there's one more but I don't know, I can't remember. I feel bad I'm not giving them a shout out whoever they are.

But we also just use Microsoft Teams for meetings and Zoom. Just some Microsoft products. Honestly, right now there's talk probably on the horizon we are going to either integrate another app with Salesforce for governance board management, board of directors that is, or we're going to probably custom build something in Salesforce to handle that functionality but we're not quite there yet. Very soon hopefully. Oh, FormTitan. Oh my goodness. Those of you are into grant applications looking a lot better and having additional functionality, FormTitan is what we use for aesthetics and conditionality and things like that.

James:

You sound very well informed, Karen, so you should be feeling proud of yourself.

Karen:

Yeah, I do. Should I?

James:

You do. Well, we're going to ignore that.

Karen:

Just sitting in my chat room with my FormTitan.

James:

That's awesome. Maybe by way of the last question wrapping up, is there anything about Health Forward you want folks to know about or are there any resources or even other podcasts or books that you visit and frequent to kind of build your day-to-day up in your role.

Karen:

Yeah. Health Forward hired a new CEO at the beginning of '19, so she had an easier, almost like, welcome aboard. But her name is Qiana Thomason and she is a very dynamic and wonderful leader, and she's brought a fresh vision to our foundation. Our foundation interprets health broadly and holistically, and that includes looking to the social factors that impede health for those most in need. And Qiana believes that the only way to achieve better health for all of our target population is to strive for more just and equitable communities.

She is specifically focused on health equity through economic inclusion. I predict that there'll be some innovative initiatives coming out of the Midwest in the months and years to come and from Health Forward. So I would encourage you guys to take notice and keep us in your thoughts. So much change and then the world has been crazy. So hopefully all the work that Grantbook and the organizations you work with, all the work we're doing can help make that world a better place using technology.

James:

You could work for us, Karen.

Karen:

I would love to.

James:

Duly noted. Well, thanks so much Karen. It was nice to catch up as always. We haven't chat in a while but thank you for sharing so many aspects of yourself, the organization and your process today. It was really nice.

Karen:

It's an absolute pleasure as always, James and I hope we set the bar today for your podcast series. I don't know whether it's high or low, but we set it.

James:

I think it's going to be up there.

Karen:

I hope so.

James:

Thank you, Karen.

Karen:

Thanks James.

James:

The More Good Podcast is produced by Sara Saddington. Grantbook is a strategic technology consulting firm for grantmakers around the world. Don't forget to subscribe to the More Good Podcast wherever you get your audio and learn more about our work at grantbook.org.

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Sara Saddington

Content Lead

Content Lead

Sara Saddington is a content marketer with experience crafting compelling messaging for B2B companies at the intersection of technology and service delivery. As a lifelong reader, writer, and editor, Sara brings an innate understanding of narrative structure, a passion for data-driven story-telling, and an eye for clarity and consistency. Sara is excited to support the Grantbook team in their mission to help foundations around the globe plan, design, implement and optimize their digital strategies so they can activate more good in the world.