INA – It has been a fast-paced start for Shawna Manion, the new 24-year-old Assistant Director of the Rend Lake College Foundation in Ina.
Manion, a resident and native of Mt. Vernon, reported to her new position Feb. 11 to find out the Foundation was sending her to a week-long intensive training conference in Chicago. Once there she dove right into an intense, 9-to-5 regiment of training on the elite, top-shelf software program, Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge.
The software program is used by the Foundation to organize and accomplish fundraising objectives to better serve the college, its supporters and its students. Manion found herself learning alongside representatives from well-known businesses and organizations like the Chicago Art Museum, Big Brother/Big Sister, as well as several others from university foundations.
“The training went through every nook and cranny of the program, all its unique features and capabilities,” she said. “The education was extremely valuable and essential to the day-to-day functions of the Foundation. The program is structured in its own unique way, so the time was well-spent.” Since returning, Manion has been taking classes in Quickbooks to ensure the Foundation is running efficiently in the financial reporting aspect.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in business economics and finance from Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville where she was active in the Economics and Elite clubs, Dean’s List recipient and a member of the National Scholar’s Honor Society. Up until coming on board with the RLCF last month, Manion served as the director of finance for Growkids and brings additional fundraising, finance and accounting experience to the Foundation’s table. She is currently an active member of the Southern Illinois neXt Professionals – an extension of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m really enjoying the work. It’s such a perfect fit with my education, personality, and background,” she said of the assistant director position. “The Foundation’s Board of Directors is a very well-respected and successful group. I look forward to working with them.
She said it was “intense” hitting the ground running at RLC, due to the scholarship program’s size and the timing. Some of her job duties include maintaining scholarship funds, donor information, accounts payable and accounts receivable.
“Everyone at the college has been so helpful. They’re always answering my questions and pointing me in the right direction. It is a great environment to work in.”
Manion revealed her love for travelling and missionary work overseas. Mission trips with her church and by her own design have taken her to places such as Thailand, Romania, Germany and Mexico. Each mission and new location lends more fuel to her passion for helping others less fortunate.
“I love the kids,” she said. “... to see their hopeful and loving attitudes, despite what they go through daily, develops a passion to help make a difference in their lives. It is life-altering. I can’t get enough of it.”