Give a Warm Welcome to Suzanne!
The Friends of the WNC Nature Center now officially welcomes Suzanne Mwengi, the latest addition to our little family! Suzanne has been with us for the past several weeks, but has only recently been inducted as the Friends' official Membership and Outreach Coordinator. And let me tell you, we're ecstatic about having her!
As Membership and Outreach Coordinator, Suzanne does much of the same duties that Angele did before her. These include processing Memberships, managing the Friends' giving programs and sending out newsletters and updates to our Members, not to mention many other tasks. Of course Suzanne brings with her a different perspective and skill set to the position then Angele did. "I see the job as more membership and public relations," Suzanne said. She sees her new position as an opportunity to interact with our Members, donors and the community at large both behind the scenes and as a public face.
Behind the scenes Suzanne makes sure that all of our giving and Membership processing go smoothly and are sustained at healthy levels. This involves a lot of managing databases, organization of files and other administrative duties, but Suzanne is well prepared for the task. "I love to organize things and to set up processes," Suzanne said. She also added that she's looking forward to applying those organizational skills--and her experience in Public Relations--here at the WNC Nature Center.
Suzanne joined the Friends of the WNC Nature Center as a way to exercise her passion for conservation. "I really like the idea of working at an organization [that is]… teaching people the importance of our native species and what they can do to protect [the animals]." That passion has it's roots in Suzanne's childhood, the catalyst of which occurred when she was reading, of all things, a romance novel! One of the characters in this novel, a female zoologist, displayed her skills by pinpointing the location of someone over the phone solely by identifying a bird call in the background--a bird that only lived in one small part of the world. "I thought 'Oh, that's so cool'," Suzanne said.
From that moment, Suzanne turned her attention to biology, a passion that lasted her all the way to college. "[It was then that I realized] I wanted to not just be doing research, but that I also wanted to do something to help conserve and protect the environment." Since then Suzanne has applied her biology background to conservation through graduate school and beyond. It's no surprise then that, after her husband had finished his own graduate program in Ohio, Suzanne jumped on the opportunity to work here at the WNC Nature Center.
Suzanne had first met Kimberly Brewster--the Friends' Executive Director--while they were both working at the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy in Hendersonville and had continued to stay in contact after they went their separate ways. It was that connection that--luckily for all of us--brought Suzanne back to Asheville after Kimberly had told her about the job opening.
The administrative side of being the Membership and Outreach Coordinator isn't the only thing that attracted Suzanne to the WNC Nature Center. She's also really excited to learn all about the cool animals that are here. "I'm looking forward to going out and learning about all their personalities," Suzanne added. Who knows, she might even be able to add some more birds to her life list while she's here! (A life list is a birder's list of what birds they have seen over the course of their entire life.) "I only have about 7,500 more," Suzanne confessed, referring to the almost 8,000 bird species that biologists have identified around the world.
We hope you'll take some time to stop by the Friends of the WNC Nature Center office and help us to welcome our latest addition the family. And while you're here, don't forget that you can join the family, too! Just sign up to become a Member and you'll join the thousands of people who help us support this amazing center for education, conservation and community.
Until Next Time, Stay Young and Go Wild!