I’m National Book Foundation Executive Director Lisa Lucas, and This Is How we Work
January 31, 2018 - table lamp
Since 1950 a National Book Foundation has awarded a National Book Award to authors such as Colson Whitehead, William Faulkner, Beverly Cleary, and Jesmyn Ward. The Foundation also runs several programs for readers and writers, including a BookUp after-school reading program. In Mar 2016 a Foundation hired Guernica publisher Lisa Lucas as executive director. We talked to Lucas about how she runs a Foundation day to day.
Location: New York City
Current Gig: Executive Director, National Book Foundation
One word that best describes how we work: Intensely
Current mobile device: iPhone 6 Plus
Current computer: iMac, who knows what model? Not me.
First of all, tell us a tiny about your credentials and how we got to where we are today.
It was kind of a dumb trail here, nonetheless once we left college, I’ve roughly always worked for nonprofits. we started during Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where we worked in Development. Then we changed behind to a East Coast and worked in growth and selling during a girl museum (called TADA!) before alighting during a Tribeca Film Institute, where we was a Director of Education for years.
In a end, we desired books many of all and so we finished adult holding all of that fundraising, marketing, and module knowledge and dedicating it to a created word. Changing careers (or disciplines) during 32 was somewhat daunting, and we started by proffer work during a Brooklyn Book Festival and Guernica Magazine. Eventually, Guernica incited into a proper, profitable pursuit and we did that for 3.5 years. Its vicinity to a book attention taught me so most and during that time we fell mill cold in adore with it. And that landed me here.
Take us by a new workday.
No day is a same here. Yesterday, we had an bureau cleaning day, given books raise up. So it was all boxes, tape, shrill music, pizza and Marie Kondo around here. Otherwise, there are a lot of meetings. You’d consider that with such a tiny staff there wouldn’t be so many meetings, though we’re always operative together and it only ends adult happening. We’re also a inhabitant organization, so many of a partners are outward of New York City and so we adore a good discussion call.
Small organizations get a lot finished with really few people, so we all wear a lot of hats. On any given day we are deliberating intensity judges for a National Book Awards, profitable a bills, writing/approving duplicate for a website or newsletter, essay extend proposals, throwing parties, prepping for house meetings, we name it. We also finish adult doing humanities crafts projects distant some-more mostly than we competence guess.
What apps, gadgets, or collection can’t we live without?
My phone. My tiny hermit calls it “Lisa’s mobile authority center.”
What’s your workspace setup like?
Pretty generic, we suppose. Computer, phone, desk, lamp, pen, mug, H2O bottle. My bureau does have a series of bookshelves, that is necessary! we also have this large aged wooden list that we hereditary from a executive before me and we adore it so most I’m going to try to hide it out with me if we ever leave.
What’s your best by-pass or life hack?
I’m really bad during shortcuts. we like longhand, paper copies of things, phone calls. we need to review this site some-more and learn some!
Who are a people who assistance we get things done, and how do we rest on them?
Team Book, comprised of my 6 studious and smashing colleagues, are superheroes. Nothing would get finished but them. They are a bedrock of this place. Gabrielle, my assistant, is really good during creation certain that things aren’t blazing to abandon given I’ve lost something.
How do we keep lane of what we have to do?
I’m a large fan of Google Calendar. At a Foundation, we keep all of a meetings and schedules on one large common one so we all know who is where, when, given we are all relocating around so much!
What’s your slightest favorite thing to do, and how do we understanding with it?
Nonprofits above a certain distance have to get audited each year. It is a worst. we eat some-more snacks when we are doing a audit.
How do we recharge? What do we do when we wish to forget about work?
I travel a lot. we find that if we leave my phone during home and go for a big, prolonged wander, eventually a work thoughts dump divided and a landscape, people-watching, and ubiquitous to-ing and fro-ing of city life takes over.
What’s your favorite side project?
What are we now reading, or what’s something you’d recommend?
I’m now reading Wolf Hall, that is my holiday reading. (I always try to review something I’ve been definition to review for years or a classic.) It’s extraordinary.
[Lisa gave these answers in December, we only run with a large backlog.—Ed.]
Fill in a blank: I’d adore to see _________ answer these same questions.
What’s a best recommendation you’ve ever received?
If we know that we can do something better, do it that way. Otherwise we have no forgive when things go wrong.
This talk has been easily edited and some links have been added.
The How we Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out prolific people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone we wish to see featured, or questions we consider we should ask? Email Nick.