Apra-IL Presents 20 Questions with ... Keli Jonas
Based on the 73 Questions series produced by Vogue, Apra-IL presents a series of 20 questions to members and the board. We're excited for you to learn more about your leadership and fellow members in this series of 20 rapid-fire questions.
Keli started volunteering with Apra-IL in 2017 on the Programming & Professional Advancement Committee. She is an Associate Director of Prospect Research at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and has worked there since late 2015. Previously, she worked in prospect research at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and in development at Marquette University.
1. Do you take work home with you?
If my team is up against a tight deadline, then yes, I absolutely will take work home.
2. How many unread emails are in your work inbox right now?
None at the moment…but then there all the un-filed emails that cause problems.
3. How many meetings do you have this week?
4. What is something on your desk that helps you be productive?
I have a large calendar to which I’ve added important work dates and deadlines, so I can take a look at the upcoming month.
5. If you were not in Prospect Research, what career would you have?
I was fascinated with Russian history growing up, so I wanted to teach and research at the university level.
6. If you could travel back in time and meet the first person to ever have your role, what would you say to them?
I would want to ask them so many questions, mainly how long would it take to complete research without the technology we use today and what would the ROI on that be?
7. If you mentored someone in Prospect Development, what would be your first piece of advice or instruction?
My first piece of advice would be to sign up for Apra and Apra-IL! Both organizations are full of amazing resources and opportunities to learn of new developments in the field.
8. How do you explain your role to people outside of Development?
I say that I work in fundraising research at the Booth School of Business.
9. What is the best part of working in Prospect Development?
I have had the opportunity to learn about so many different industries, especially the financial sector, since I have been at Chicago Booth. I also get to uncover prospects to help support the work of the university.
10. What is one thing Apra has done for you?
I have met so many amazing people through Apra-IL and have learned so much about the various organizations in the state.
11. Are you an early bird or night owl?
Definitely an early bird. I like to feel productive early in the day.
12. What book are you reading right now?
I just started Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly. It is the second book in the Lilac Girls series and takes places during WWI and the Russian Revolution.
13. What book would you recommend to people?
I read The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead this year and have been recommending it to everyone. I also love the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series from Louise Penny. It’s a detective series with tons of Quebecois history added.
14. Currently, what is your favorite restaurant in your city?
I live in the Western Suburbs, so my favorite restaurant out there is Babcock’s Grove House. Fantastic comfort food, local beers, and amazing owners.
But since I work in Chicago, I’m adding Aba in the West Loop to the list. The rooftop patio and Mediterranean fare are incredible.
15. What is your favorite season?
I love fall. The changing colors, food, clothes, and holidays are all my favorite. But no pumpkin spice lattes!
16. What is your favorite hobby?
My husband and I bought our first home last year and it is full of projects for us inside and out. I have been learning so much about interior design and landscape design in the process, so if I have some downtime, I am usually working on that.
17. Favorite meal of the day?
If it’s the weekend, breakfast would be my favorite since I get to sit down and actually enjoy my coffee.
18. What country do you wish to visit?
The next country to visit on my list is Spain, but I am having trouble narrowing down what cities to visit!
19. Best advice you have ever received?
When I was little, my uncle always told me to “Keep on keeping on.” It was a simple way to teach me about the importance of perseverance.
20. What is a superpower that you use at work?
My superpower at work is figuring out what type of research someone is really requesting. Sometimes a requester doesn’t exactly know what they’re looking for or will ask for a comprehensive profile. By having conversations with research requesters, we can be strategic about what kind of research is appropriate for the situation and complete the work so much faster.