Andrew Sommers serves as our Volunteer Consulting Director, a role that allows him to assemble teams of volunteers from management consulting firms and match them with our grantees. These teams advise our grantees on critical matters such as strategic planning and streamlining operations. To give you an inside view of what this type of work is like, we share this Q&A.
Q: Where did you live before moving to DC?
Andrew: Hometown: Philadelphia, PA College: Penn State University; State College, PA
Q: What is your day job?
Andrew: I’m an Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton where I support Air Force clients with a number of Strategy and Organization services.
Q: Describe some of the typical things you do in your role with DCSIP and what you enjoy most about it?
Andrew: I’m the Director of our Volunteer Consulting Program where I put together teams of volunteer consultants to help our DCSIP Grantees with their Strategy and Organizational challenges. On one end, I typically work with our grantees to scope out the project, get an idea of their organization and related challenges. On the other, I recruit volunteers and work with them to get a team established. Once a project is underway, I work closely with all parties to ensure a successful project. I absolutely love to find the right volunteer teams for our grantees. It is incredibly rewarding to watch a team think creatively about the ways to solve problems and move these organizations forward.
Q: Any success stories or particular anecdotes that stand out from your experience working with volunteers and grantees?
Andrew: One of our project teams recently developed a series of training sessions for one of our grantees. As a result, our grantee and his organization felt more confident about getting their program off the ground. For another, they held a fundraiser and raised far beyond their original expectations — partly due to suggestions and recommendations from our consultants. That was really rewarding to hear.
Q: Describe the process for getting involved as a volunteer consultant and what their experience is like on a team and working with a grantee.
Andrew: Our volunteers come from a number of different great consulting firms in DC. Teams are typically developed once we have established the scope and goals of the consulting engagement with the grantee so that we can best match expertise. As a member of one of our teams, volunteers spend about 3-5 months (6-8 hours a month) working with the grantee and each other to develop a final product. We all get together in-person at the beginning and end of each effort, and consultants get the ability to work directly with the grantee throughout the process — one of the great advantages to the program!
Q: What have you learned for your experience with DCSIP and how has it helped you professionally?
Andrew: I’ve learned a lot about DC and so many great people trying to bring about positive social change in the city. From education to health, there are so many socially innovative and doing great things! Professionally, it’s helped me see the problems I face with government clients in a new way and better prepares me as a professional consultant.
Learn more about our program and how you can get involved by visiting our website.