At Work

AT WORK

Workers Around The Region

August 03, 2005|By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest | Nancy Jones-Bonbrest,Special to The Sun

Christina D. Sullivan

Volunteer and scholars program manager, Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, Baltimore

Age: 32

Years in business: Two

Salary: About $40,000

How she started: Sullivan received her bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Mary Washington and her master's degree in higher education from Virginia Tech. She worked at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in student affairs and later managed volunteers for the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association's Visitor Center.

Typical day: The museum opened June 25. Sullivan worked for almost two years recruiting volunteers, developing volunteer and docent training programs and implementing orientation sessions. Now that the museum is open, much of her work still revolves around training volunteers. She is also responsible for scheduling, keeping track of volunteer hours, answering inquiries about volunteer opportunities - including internships - and refining training programs. Sullivan works from 10 a.m. to about 7 p.m. with some weekend training sessions.

The numbers: Sullivan recruited about 40 docents, who graduated in March from their 16-week orientation, and almost 400 general volunteers. There is currently a waiting list for the next docent program.

Advice to aspiring volunteers: "You have to have commitment and passion - everything else we can work with."

The future: While internships are currently offered to undergraduate and graduate students, Sullivan hopes soon to offer a fellows program for post- and pre-doctoral students as well as a junior docent program for high school students.

Favorite museum exhibit: Things Hold, Lines Connect: African-American Families and Communities in Maryland. "It talks about how African Americans sustained their communities through a lot of struggle and hardship."

On working with volunteers: "When you are trying to get people to do something for free you have to be energetic yourself and think of creative ways to engage them. That's the key."

The good: "I have the unique opportunity to inspire people."

The bad: Sullivan said that when working with volunteers there is a line that must be drawn between accommodating their needs and her role as the manager of the program. "There are policies and procedures and rules that you must follow even if you are a volunteer."

Philosophy on the job: "I believe in having a vision. When you have that vision, that drives your passion to make it a reality."

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