The Journey of Two Young Professionals at Soukup Strategic Solutions

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Through the years, Soukup Strategic Solutions has been lucky to have many of our interns join us on staff after graduating college. Riley Randolph and Hannah Reynolds both started their internships on the very same day back in 2019 and recently celebrated their 3-year work anniversary with us!  For this interview-style blog, we sat down with Riley and Hannah to hear about their insights and special moments.

Riley Randolph, Florida Gulf Coast University graduate, earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications with a Minor in Interdisciplinary Studies and now serves as our Grants Manager full-time.

Hannah Reynolds, also a Florida Gulf Coast University graduate, earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Pre-Law. She currently serves as our Fundraising and Event Planning Coordinator and is in her second year at Ave Maria School of Law.

What is the most important lesson you learned during your internship?

Riley:  During an internship, if you have the opportunity to try new things–do it! When I walked in on my first day, I wanted to further my career in marketing. Then, a couple of months down the road, I took advantage of the opportunity to get involved with our Grants team. I quickly came to realize that writing grants to raise funds for the organizations we work with was my true calling.

Why did you decide to stay at Soukup Strategic Solutions after college?

Hannah: Before 2019, I interned at a large corporate firm and a small nonprofit organization, which I found vastly different from my internship here. Interning with the small organization, I grew a deep interest in working with nonprofits but could never imagine singling out and supporting only one mission long-term. I knew I was here to stay when I realized I rose out of bed every morning feeling excitement like I never had before, to better humanity by raising funds for the amazing causes we help support. Aside from that, Sheryl Soukup truly uplifts and shapes her team into the best they can be, the same way she does as a mother for her children and as a leader for our clients. She has been a leader in the nonprofit industry for so long and working closely with her was an opportunity I could not turn down.

What has been your favorite moment at Soukup Strategic Solutions?

Riley: When the Grants Team and I landed three Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) awards in one day…talk about a cause for celebration! These three applications were funded through the CDBG program utilizing Housing and Urban Development (HUD) federal funding and are distributed at the county level. Feeling the impact of securing these large grants for local communities was hands down my favorite moment here.

What are you working on right now that inspires or excites you?

Hannah: Right now, I am working on capital campaign prospect research. In unison, I am learning how to craft capital campaign plans to raise millions of dollars for organizations in this area most in need. The funds raised with capital campaigns create transformational change. It’s exciting to look back at my journey here that started out raising a couple of thousand dollars to now helping generate multi-million-dollar gifts.

What advice do you have for someone starting their nonprofit career?

Riley: Don’t be afraid to wear multiple hats – plain and simple. Your job description may not include things like helping with budgets or strategizing social media but take on the task with pride when you are called upon to do so. Every learning experience is beneficial and transferrable, and all work amplifies the mission at hand.

Hannah: Don’t let your pride get in the way – remember you are working for a mission, not yourself. Strive every day to be the selfless individual you were the first day you sat down to form your personal mission statement. Always be open to suggestions and advice and remember to keep in mind the source of that guidance. You may think you know how to approach most situations, but I’ve learned in my time at Soukup Strategic Solutions that it takes years of experience to perfect crafting strategies that increase the likelihood of your organization’s lifelong success.

Written by Jackie Carter, Fundraising Marketing, and Communications Coordinator at Soukup Strategic Solutions.