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Something GOOD is Going to Happen to Me!


by Karina A. Bharne, AFPSS Chamberlain Scholar


I was excited about my trip to Baltimore at the end of March. Baltimore is a city that I have been to many times and I was looking forward to the networking opportunities available to me at the AFP Conference.

Then COVID-19 struck, and everything changed.

The warning bells starting going off about three weeks before the conference, with the first case being announced in Pierce County. Luckily AFP was ready with options and, not wanting to risk my health, I immediately transferred my registration to online.

There are certainly benefits and drawbacks to virtual conferences. First, I found myself being excited to enjoy this conference in comfy clothing (it did begin at 7:00am!), but then also found myself distracted by either my husband moving around, or my cats inevitably trying to lounge on my computer and iPad. It took extra focus to be engaged, but it was well worth it.

 There were several important takeaways about the conference. As a reminder, the conference happened when we initially were thinking this lockdown would last, at most, a few weeks. There were many great discussions and suggestions on making sure donors are engaged with the work you are doing. Why not make personal phone calls instead of impersonal e-blasts. What can you do NOW to still keep your community engaged?

However, the most important takeaway came from an amazing session with Marcy Heim. Originally I was to attend her pre-conference session on Major Gifts. She started off the session by getting everyone out of their seat and making them say, out loud, “Something Good is Going to Happen to Me!”.  While startling the cats, this was just the energy required to remain focused and engaged and do the important work that we all need to be doing, especially during such a high stress time.

I took her advice and every morning since have added a daily dose of positivity to my routine. It has helped me feel confident when I have to make 'asks' during this tremendously difficult time of COVID-19.

I am eternally grateful for this opportunity that I have been given as the Chamberlain Scholar, and know that I will use the lessons I learned during this conference throughout my career.

Learn more about the Chamberlain Scholarship here

Karina A. Bharne is the Executive Director of Symphony Tacoma. 

Experienced in all facets of orchestra administration, Karina most recently held the role of Interim Executive Director with the San Antonio Symphony, where she successfully stabilized operations during a time of significant organizational change. Her other roles at the San Antonio Symphony have included Vice President/General Manager and Director of Orchestra Personnel. Karina’s professional experience also includes leadership roles at various arts organizations throughout the United States and Canada, including the Goh Ballet in Vancouver, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival and School, and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Karina is an active volunteer with Spay Neuter Inject Protect San Antonio, an organization dedicated to helping create a sustainable animal population. A trained musician, she holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in trombone performance and master of arts management degree from Carnegie Mellon University.