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User Spotlight: Kelley Galownia, Virginia Conservation Network

Get to know Kelley Galownia – Communications Manager at the Virginia Conservation Network, and this week’s ConnectVA Spotlight!

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Kelley Galownia, and I am the Communications Manager at the Virginia Conservation Network here in Richmond. After my recent graduation from JMU (go Dukes!), I found myself a bit anxious about which direction to head in next. I was heavily involved in nonprofit communications and volunteering throughout my undergraduate career and knew upon my graduation in August 2014 that the nonprofit field is where I really belong. I took this position in October and haven?t looked back since.

Outside of work, you can usually find me trail running, eating fish tacos, listening to live music, or learning about fun ways to become involved around Richmond.

What is the focus of your work and the need you are addressing?

Virginia Conservation Network is the powerful, diverse, highly-coordinated conservation movement here in Virginia. We are approximately 120 organizations around the Commonwealth working to protect our water, air, and land for the sustained benefit of our communities, our families, and our selves. My job is to ensure effective communication within the network so that everyone is on the same page and is aware of others? efforts. I also handle our supporter engagement, which will soon include tabling festivals, organizing supporter happy hours, and revving up our social media sites (our goal is 10,000 Facebook likes by the end of this year?will you help?!).

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Simply put: the feeling that everything I do has a positive impact on our beautiful state. I?m motivated to go above and beyond the expectations, because I like to think my relentless efforts will keep Virginia?s hiking as breathtaking, kayaking as peaceful, camping as enjoyable, and everyday living as sustainable.

Tell us about your biggest accomplishment in this position.

Because I?ve only been in this position for six months, my accomplishments lie more in restructuring our communications plan than anywhere else. I?ve introduced new, experimental ideas to the network, and thanks to our wonderfully supportive team around Virginia, I?ve received little resistance. These changes include new social media tactics, alterations to our annual events, and new publications.

What has been a challenge for you?

Kris Tompkins? quote from the documentary 180 Degrees South really resonates with me: ?I think, first and foremost, people only protect the things they love. And you can?t love something unless you inherently identify with it.? The biggest challenge I?ve faced thus far is getting people to truly identify with this beautiful state, because, as Kris says, you must identify with something in order to protect it. Showing Virginians?especially those in the younger generations?why they should love (and therefore protect) their state is my primary goal as the Communications Manager of this conservation movement.

What?s coming up that?s really exciting?

My goal for this year is to really expand our media following. I work really hard to find and share important information through our social media sites and email alerts?we just need more listeners. Therefore, I will be traveling around Virginia this summer appearing at many local festivals to get to know our audience and encourage supporters to engage with us through social media for a chance to win a Virginia getaway. We?re veering away from emails as our primary form of communication, which is why we need more engagement on our social media sites.

How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission?

I am very excited about the changes coming to ConnectVA?s new website. I think these changes will give organizations more exposure, which is exactly what we?re trying to accomplish in 2015.

Additionally, I attended ConnectVA?s 2015 Social Media Conference in March which was an enormous help to me in developing our new communications plan – I got more out of the conference than I ever imagined I would going into it. I?ve been so impressed with their services, and I?m excited to watch their organization grow.

Anything else you would like to share?

Please follow us on social media! I post interesting articles, captivating photos, upcoming event information, and the occasional witty joke?what more could you ask for?!

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!


Do you know someone who should share their story through our ConnectVA Spotlight?  Email us at info@connectva.org for more information!

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