To give our audiences a sense of the person behind the title, we’re introducing a series of brief and lighthearted staff profiles!
We’re starting with an interview of Pro Bono Manager Katie Peden, conducted by Kate Marchese, Program and Marketing Assistant in the New Jersey office.
What motivates you to come into work on Monday morning?
My colleagues at the Partnership and the sustained and inspiring commitment of many of our volunteers. My role involves regular collaboration with each of our departments and offices and I truly enjoy working with and learning from my colleagues toward the common goal of service to nonprofits in the tri-state area. And I continue to be impressed by our volunteers’ willingness and eagerness to serve, most of them returning again and again for new projects.
Since you see all of the matters we take on, what legal needs are organizations in the tri-state area faced with most? (Employment, Real Estate, Corporate…)
Employment matters are the most common, followed by corporate governance.
Referring to the previous question, why do you think this is the greatest need?
Like any for-profit corporation, nonprofits will face a range of issues in the employment area and it can often be the area where they face the greatest exposure to liability if issues go unresolved or are handled without the advice of counsel.
What interested you in pro bono work/nonprofit work?
I practiced intellectual property law, driven in large part by my love for the arts, which led me to an arts nonprofit where I directed a volunteers lawyers program assisting creative practitioners and organizations. This work set me on the path to wanting to engage further with the nonprofit community.
Have you seen a direct impact of the Partnership’s work? If so, please explain.
I don’t have a lot of direct interaction with our clients in my role, but I do hear from volunteers about the personal connections they often have to the mission of the client they are serving and what it means to them to be able to assist. When the volunteer-client match has that added personal connection it is especially rewarding to be a part of that process.
What’s the issue most new volunteers raise prior to volunteering? (What if I don’t know all the answers?) How do you assuage their misgivings?
New and existing volunteers understandably may inquire or express concern about the possible time constraints of a particular project, both in expected turn-around and overall commitment. The majority of our projects are not time sensitive and are very limited in scope; therefore, timing does not usually end up dissuading volunteers. Our staff attorneys identify in advance any dates of note or time sensitivity and we will always pass that information on to an interested volunteer in advance of their committing to a project.
And on a lighter note, what is your favorite travel destination?
Paris – I have visited a few times and enjoy returning to favorite spots, particularly its museums, and exploring new areas. During my most recent visit in October of last year, I tried its bike-share system and visited the flea markets for the first time.
Finally, what would you say is your favorite color?
Purple, as assigned by my three-year-old daughter. She has informed each member of the family what their favorite color is!