Getting to Know the La Piana Team: An Interview with Stacie Freasier
This blog post is part of our continuing series featuring the La Piana team. This week, we spoke with Stacie Freasier, who joined the firm as Associate Consultant in April 2019.
What are three words you would use to describe your new role with La Piana Consulting?
Stimulating. Complex. Wide-ranging.
What attracts you to working with nonprofits, foundations, and/or the consultants who serve them?
The sense of purpose I gain from working with folks who are focused on the double-bottom-line of mission and profit (to advance the mission!).
Nonprofits have far more stakeholders than for-profit corporations, and balancing the needs of the many is an art. Most of the board members and staff I support have their identities so deeply tied to the work they do. Helping them realize change in their organizations and communities is gratifying beyond measure.
What skills or lessons from your past experience do you expect to draw from the most in your new role?
My varied background in the nonprofit sector as volunteer and staff in nearly every functional area, working for organizations with different missions, different geographies, different funding structures, and different stages in the organizational life cycle strengthens my ability to empathize with clients and meet them where they’re at. There’s a basis of understanding I have about what they are starting from, which allows me to engage in meaningful discussions quickly.
What are your favorite types of challenges, projects, or opportunities?
My favorite challenges are those that require interpersonal connection and growth. I particularly enjoy conducting stakeholder interviews because of the humanness that surfaces in those conversations. There is beauty in vulnerability, and the clients I connect with certainly bring that (which is necessary to really get at the root of the challenges faced).
What do you most enjoy doing when you’re not working?
When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my husband, our one-year-old son, and his older canine brother, Bandit. We recently relocated to Boston and are taking in this amazing city’s rich culture and history by foot (related side note – public transportation here is excellent). Seeing live music is one of my greatest joys, and once Rumi gets a tad older, I’ll bring that back into regular rotation!
What is your favorite place, sight, or sound in the world?
My favorite sound is the end of The Beatles Abbey Road album, but Rumi’s giggle is a fierce contender.
What do you see as the biggest challenges or opportunities facing nonprofits today?
The sector is overcrowded. There are too many organizations competing for scarce resources. This is both a challenge and opportunity, because there are so many ways to partner and collaborate (one of La Piana’s core areas of expertise). I encourage nonprofits to be open and creative in finding ways of working collectively versus in silos. Focus on the community and set egos aside. (Stacie Freasier pictured at right with husband Nabil and son Rumi)
Among your strongest interests is the arts, can you describe a bit of what you’re doing in this area and the potential you see for the arts in furthering social change?
My involvement in the arts centers around two primary activities – my board service for Playing for Change (PFC) and my involvement with National Arts Strategies. With Playing for Change, I bring my nonprofit expertise to help improve the organization’s governance practices and strategy approach. I joined the National Arts Strategies (NAS) community in 2018 and completed its Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy. NAS is focused on strengthening the capacity and leadership of the arts and culture sector around the country. The arts have enormous potential to connect people from all walks of life and unite them in an often-divided world. They also lift voices of those who would otherwise be unheard due to existing systems of power and privilege.
If you could have lunch with anyone famous, who would it be and why?
The singer/songwriter and activist, Ani DiFranco, because she has stayed true to her authentic self and has used her voice to consistently advocate for social justice throughout her career and life. Plus, her music got me through many rough patches (and continues to do so!).