The Interview: Lori Ciccone

While her peers were partying, UNLV alumna and communications studies significant Lori Ciccone was discovering how to toss parties. Her career path in public relations and occasions management ultimately led to fundraising, which in turn led to grant writing, which ultimately led her right back to UNLV and a grants management profession she’s passionate about.

Is grants management what you believed you ‘d be doing when you grew up?

No, not. Nobody grows up to operate in grant world. You fall under it and end up being passionate about it since it’s gratifying.

I worked in the events market out of college. There were 6 people working 90 to 100 hours a week. I loved it because I love arranging, and these were high-end celebrations, in the hundreds of thousands to millions. However I ‘d constantly wanted children and a partner with those children.

I knew I needed to alter my course when I found myself watering the turf outside my first home at 1 in the morning because I needed to set out the sod, and this was the only time I could do it. I was 25 at the time, and it was December. I was freezing, and I could not feel my fingers, but I had to be back at work at 6 a.m. That’s when I realized I ‘d bought a house I ‘d never ever see. I had a dog at that time also that I dropped off at my moms and dads’ to babysit every day; they saw her more than I provided for a good three years. So I simply stopped.

What occurred next?

I planned to go back to college and become a teacher. Then I got a call from a nonprofit I ‘d done a charity event for in college, one I felt extremely attached to– Classroom on Wheels, which are mobile class for 3- to 5-year-olds. They asked me to work for them as their fundraiser, tossing celebrations, which is simpler to do when individuals pay you to throw a party than it is when you toss a celebration and ask individuals to pay for it.

The roi to do a fundraising event was maybe 15 percent, so I wrote a grant and got moneyed in two months. I thought, “Well, that was a lot easier,” so I started composing more grants. I had an 86 percent return on my grants, and that encouraged me to keep writing them. That’s how I got in the grant world.

How did you end up at UNLV?

Later, I was discovered by a regional national not-for-profit board member who hired me to grant compose for them. When it was time to make a modification once again, I used to a job that had actually opened up at the Nevada System of College (NSHE) called EPSCoR (Developed Program to Stimulate Competitive Research). I had no idea what that implied. I went and talked to, and I walked out still not knowing what I ‘d talked to for. All I knew was that I wasn’t going to be writing grants; I ‘d be handling them. They offered me the task. I had no concept what it was, however I took it and worked there, and the doors simply continued to open for me.

I was with NSHE for 14 years prior to I concerned UNLV as an employee. It was a long course to come back and operate at my alma mater, and I never ever thought I ‘d do it, however here I am.

When did you recognize campus had changed since you were a trainee?

When the Hospitality building was opening. Just the design of it is exceptionally different from the buildings with narrow windows and a “dungeon” on the bottom flooring like FDH, which was where 90 percent of my degree classes were. The modern-day feel of the more youthful school buildings is awesome. UNLV has a new look. It resembles a brand-new school. And I feel brand-new since a lot of these structures were not here when I graduated in 1996 (BA Interaction Studies). I have to take a look at a map to find out what everything’s called now.

What surprises you about operating at a university?

I enjoy the energy of the campus. It’s excellent. You’re not locked into a 4-by-4 building. You can go out, walk campus, and keep in mind why you’re here: for the trainees bettering themselves, for the professors.

Greatest misunderstanding about UNLV

I do not become aware of UNLV, so I think the misunderstanding is that UNLV isn’t a university of terrific service to our neighborhood, which is tough for me as an alumna because it’s opened many doors from me.

In previous jobs, I ‘d travel across the state, and even after being in Las Vegas for thirty years, UNLV colors aren’t worn on football days throughout the valley, and there aren’t red banners everywhere you turn. I’m from Texas, and when you go into a college town, the colors are everywhere, 5 miles wide. It’s extremely different here.

A mistaken belief about your work

People often think we can make things happen in the blink of an eye, which’s not approve world. You have to guarantee compliance, and to do that, you need to check out and know all the guidelines. We have more than 700 independent sponsored awards, implying we have more than 700 various conditions to follow at any given time. And there’s not just one primary detective here, either.

An item in your office that suggests something special to you

I collect panda bears. They were all given to me by others, so they’re all very treasured. I also have an extremely special packed cow from my time with Class on Wheels. I ‘d put together a faculty retreat for all my staff there, who were instructors. They were so overwhelmed that I ‘d taken the time to do that for them that they pooled together their money to get me the cow, and they sobbed when they gave it to me. It’s still on my bookshelf.

If you could pick your last meal

Guacamole and chips, and I ‘d clean it down with Dr. Pepper. It represents the mixture of whatever combined together, like life. You may as well go out with a little jalapeno!

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