A day in the life of Hannah Avdoulos: John F. Kennedy Center Assistant on the Corporate and Foundation Relations team for the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO)

November 26, 2018

  • Hannah believes her experience as an RCAH student helped propel her to her career with the JKF Center.

  • She believes her experience with Professor Bosse helped her earn her position at the JFK Center.
  • "Stay true to yourself, put in the work and ask for help and guidance – you’re on your way to being a world changer!”

 

By Kara Dempsey 19'

 

Hannah Avdoulos from Novi, Michigan, graduated from RCAH in May 2017. She currently holds the title of Assistant on the Corporate and Foundation Relations team for the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. She works on fundraisers for special corporations, government, foundations and special projects such as the NSO Season Opening Gala.

 

Hannah_Av_profile

 

Every day is different for Hannah at JFK Center.

“On any given day, I could be working on a grant report or proposal, corporate proposal, drafting correspondence to acknowledge a gift, working with marketing to confirm our donors are recognized, stewarding an existing donor to ensure they have the most exceptional experience possible, or conducting prospect research for a project to find new donors,” she said.

Sometimes things go awry and Hannah has to work on her toes to “keep moving forward” with her day. She enjoys the extremely fast paced environment and the people she works with. She emphasized her appreciation for her peers saying, “It is inspiring to be around so many smart and talented people, that push me to be the best that I can be.”

Hannah believes her experience as an RCAH student helped propel her to her career with the JKF Center.

“The Community of RCAH is the foundation to all the other pillars of the college – the people, the academic curriculum, the out of classroom experiences, the opportunities, and the network. It helped me build a solid foundation as a critical thinker and shapes how I strive to be a professional.”

Her experience working with Professor Joanna Bosse as a Research Assistant, as well as being a part of RCAH 292b where she worked with the My Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper program, she credits in particular to helping her receive her position at the JFK Center with NSO. “In both experiences, I had a hands on roll in creating content, developing administrative duties, and understanding the larger picture of the program while figuring out what exactly that meant for me in my role.  While the actual work of a mentor program and research assistant are not exactly what I do in fundraising, the experiences that I learned coupled with my critical thinking training helped me to become the best candidate. Both of these experiences gave me transferable skills and tangible examples of my work that I could share during my interview process.”

Professor Bosse noted her work experience with Hannah saying, "Working with Hannah has been one of the highlights of my time here. She arrived at the RCAH as many do … a conscientious student wanting to do good in the world. But what that looked like, and how she would harness her strengths to do so was unclear when she first began."

Bosse admired Hannah's view of college being a next step toward her career, rather than a last road of education, "She acted the part of a professional in her classes, in her administrative work with me, and in her student life activity. By the time she was interviewing for the Kennedy Center, she had a strong professional game face, her skills were well developed, and she was ready to take on the world. Now she is doing it on a national stage and I could’t be more proud to know her."

When asked about advice for current Seniors graduating from RCAH and looking for jobs, Hannah has three important points.

First is persistence. She noted her own struggle saying, “Through this process, it is going to be important that you are driven by your passions and goals, but keep in mind that this first job is not going to be your perfect dream job at all, something that I greatly struggled with.  Thinking about it as a first step to reach that dream job will help you have a good frame of mind when searching, applying and interviewing.” 

Second is to utilize your professors, instructors, mentors, faculty, bosses, peers etc.  Hannah found her position at JFK Center through a resume and cover letter project in class. Hannah noted that she would not have known she was a good fit for the position unless she made her passion for the job known.  She also encourages the use of University wide resources such as MSU Career Services, and outside resources such as Glassdoor and Indeed. 

Her most important point of advice is to have confidence in your abilities saying, “Your confidence and attitude will show through in everything you do during this process.  Stay true to yourself, put in the work and ask for help and guidance – you’re on your way to being a world changer!”