Lyn Rowland is a Senior Consultant of Philanthropy Services at Gobel Group. We recently conducted an interview with him regarding his background and experience.
- What did you do before joining Gobel Group?
Before joining Gobel Group, I was Director of Data Services and Business Analytics at Children’s National Medical Center in D.C. for five years. There, I was basically responsible for all information systems for the foundation, and for the reporting on those systems and the analytics that went along with it. When I started there, the team was very small, so I built out the data analytics team and a reporting infrastructure, and I also implemented a system for data visualization and dashboard generation. During that time, I pared down 1.2 million records to about 1 million, and I made a series of process improvements around Raiser’s Edge.Before that, I was working at Blackbaud, which is a vendor that produces Raiser’s Edge. I really enjoyed the front-facing side of things more than the back-end coding, so I mostly pursued consulting at Blackbaud.
- Why did you decide to join Gobel Group?
Jenny Kleintop, Vice President & Principal Consultant at Gobel Group, posted a job description on FundServices, a listserv for an association I was a part of at the time. The position sounded interesting, and we had a grateful patient and family’s program at Children’s, so I was already familiar with the process. I applied, and got a call from Jenny, met the team, and met Chad Gobel. I felt really good about the opportunity and about the company, so when offered the position, I decided to make the move.
- How would you describe your consulting expertise?
I think sometimes consultants walk into an organization thinking they have all the answers, or that they’ll know better than their clients. I take a different approach – I walk in knowing that I’m an expert on Raiser’s Edge, and on the Gobel process and its successes. But I also know that one size really doesn’t fit all, so as a consultant, I want to ask questions and I want to listen to what the clients have to say. I get to know the nuances and specific requirements of the organization – for example, some CDOs may receive reports in a certain kind of way that they’re most comfortable with. When I meet clients, I want to listen to those small details and take all of that in before offering them customized options.I want to engage my clients in the process; I like to be collaborative, so that they feel as though they have a voice. Then, when the solution is implemented, clients feel as though they can own it even after I’m gone.
- What excites you about working with Gobel Group’s clients?
I think any time you work in healthcare, you get the opportunity to meet some really great organizations that are pursuing incredible causes. I realize that may sound very “pie-in-the-sky,” but there really is a truth to it. When you get into the day-to-day work of healthcare philanthropy, you’re reminded that you’re really helping people – you’re supporting research, you’re improving the patient experience or quality of life for people. It’s nice to be able to meet and work with organizations on a daily basis that have that vision and desire in mind.
Plus, overcoming obstacles and getting people on-board with a great idea – that’s where the consulting engagement becomes fun and interesting. It’s exciting to work with different individuals, with different requirements and personalities, to help them become successful.
- What do you find most rewarding about your work?
As a consultant, I work hard, and I spend a lot of time on the road or on the phone, working with different organizations. The engagement time is fairly long – it starts with a kickoff in month one, and there’s usually a peak in month six, when you’ve gotten to the point that the clinicians are engaged, and the plan has been executed; then in month seven or eight, the dashboards and reports start reflecting the organization’s success. The most rewarding part is when people start to see that what I’m doing – what we’re doing at Gobel Group – actually works. It’s great when the staff, the doctors, and the C-level executives all realize that everything we’ve been telling them for months is actually coming to fruition. That’s my favorite part – when the lightbulb goes off and folks see it with their own eyes and understand what we’re trying to do.
- What are a few personal details you could share?
I’m a pretty “outdoorsy” sort of person. I’m really into bicycling and running. When I was in college, I was a very competitive runner. I actually went to a division one school on a scholarship and was on a racing team a few years after school. Then, it started to take a back seat to life – but about a year ago, I decided to get back into shape, realign my fitness level, make some life changes. So, I got back into running and trained all summer for the Marine Corps marathon. Now, I’m planning a triathlon in San Francisco, the Escape from Alcatraz. I was one of the lucky 1,500 people who got a spot on the triathlon through the lottery, and I still can’t believe I’m going to do it.
- What did you do before joining Gobel Group?