Teach a 20-something punk to write a good memo, and she’ll write good memos for life

For a couple of fun, lucky years in my 20s, I worked as assistant to the director at the Asian Cultural Council (ACC), a grantmaking nonprofit that awards cultural exchange fellowships to artists and scholars from the U.S. and Asia.

Looking for a tear-jerker with great music? Look no further!

As well as being fun, the ACC is an extremely classy place, so not only did I get to attend the super-cool performances and openings of loads of top-shelf international artists, I also honed a grip of executive-level writing skills (first forged at ACC’s sister foundation, the venerable Trust for Mutual Understanding) that I find myself coming back to quite often as a full-time freelance provider of editorial services to nonprofits. Skills like:

  • ghostwriting correspondence and statements for a VIP
  • culling meeting notes down from chaos to the essentials
  • drafting invitations to donors that made giving us loads of money sound like a treat
  • and more!

This past spring, I was extremely stoked to see an email from ACC’s current director in my inbox. She said they had some writing and editing needs on the horizon, and wondered if I might be available to help. I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

Almost six months later, I’m still having a blast popping in on my old workmates in the office, reacquainting myself with all the great things they work on, and helping them craft communications—like this—that speak to the gravity and longevity (and yes, the fun) of what they do. (If you peruse that newsletter, check out the story about Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan. Definitely my favorite to write.)

You never know when an old skill—or old friends—will show up in your life again. But unless that skill is effectively squandering time or that friend is a psychotic clown, chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprised!