Member Spotlight

Meet Carlene Johnson!

Meet (and friend!) Carlene Johnson, a Raiser's Edge, Online Express, and Blackbaud Merchant Services user, with Dexter Southfield School.
Meet Carlene Johnson!

This week's member spotlight shines on Online Express, Raiser's Edge, and Blackbaud Merchant Services user, Carlene Johnson, with Dexter Southfield.

Carlene's Community Profile


Tell us about your family (fur babies count!) "I'm close with my mother, sister & family, and my extended family.  I've got two nephews and lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins.  I'm also "auntie" to some of my friends' kids and they are all part of my family-of-choice. My bestie just had twins!  I also enjoy all of my friends' fur-babies."

Where do you live? "Arlington, MA."

What do you like to do for fun? "I really enjoy summer camp.  I was a camper for many years, and then a camp counselor at Camp Calumet Lutheran on Ossipee Lake in NH.  As an adult I go back often to take advantage of their family & adult programming along with many of my fellow staff-alumni.  They all bring thier kids and we spend a week every August up there.  I get to stay in the tent in which I was a counselor back in 1990!

I also am the president of the board of a non-profit called Spring, Forum for Alternative Community, which basically runs a summer camp for grownups in June each year.  We have campfires, a talent-show, arts & crafts, and all sorts of outdoor activities run by group members.  It is super fun!

I also enjoy crafting and drinking LOTS of coffee."

What’s a life achievement you are particularly proud of? "I'm really proud of my career!  I've managed to make a great living through being an expert Raiser's Edge user!"

What’s one memory that always makes you smile? "There is an episode of Saturday Night Live with Julianna Margulies where she is the girlfriend visiting her boyfriends family for dinner.  The family has to chew and spit food into the younger brother's mouth since he can't chew for some reason.  It's disgusting and hilarious and everytime I think of it I snort-laugh until I cry."

What is one interesting fact about yourself most people don't know?
"I have an awsome collection of vintage handbags.  Think Mad-Men style.  I have them displayed on the walls of my bedroom like artwork."

What are three things on your bucket list? "Grand Canyon, Hawaii, buying a house."

Tell us about your organization: "Dexter Southfield School offers boys and girls from Pre-Kindergarten through Class 12 a classical education. Our 36-acre campus is located in South Brookline on the Boston-Brookline line, with easy access to Boston. 
Our Mission: Dexter Southfield School helps boys and girls develop their individual talents and build an ethical foundation for life. Through a classical education and single-sex programs, students learn to lead with confidence and serve with compassion, living by the motto, 'Our Best Today, Better Tomorrow.'

Dexter School opened in 1926 as a successor to the Noble and Greenough lower school, which was discontinued when Nobles moved to Dedham. Dexter continued to occupy the same site in Brookline during the headships of Miss Myra Fiske and the Rev. Francis Caswell. In 1966, under Headmaster William F. Phinney, the School purchased the Newton Street property and began construction of the current campus. Classrooms, athletic facilities, and art studios quickly followed.  

Southfield School was established in 1992 to offer girls the same outstanding education that Dexter boys had long enjoyed. Southfield opened its doors that fall to 81 girls in Pre-Kindergarten through Class 4, far exceeding the planned enrollment. Within four years, Southfield numbered 236 girls through Class 8.

The upper school was established in 2002, providing families with another secondary option in the Boston area, as the School expanded the faculty and facilities to meet this new student population. The addition of interscholastic athletics, Advanced Placement academics, and a rich and diverse array of arts and community service opportunities has enriched our school. 

Mr. and Mrs. Phinney retired in 2011, having spent a combined 93 years of service to the School. Longtime teacher, administrator, and coach Todd Vincent became the fourth Head of School.
In 2013, Dexter Southfield received formal accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Head of School Todd Vincent worked with faculty, staff, and administration during the 18-month accreditation process, which included a lengthy self-study. The study revealed what so many students, alumni/ae, faculty, and families already knew: while the school will always operate under that core belief that boys and girls benefit from distinct paths of learning, we are one family. During Summer 2013, Dexter Southfield unveiled its re-branded school name to reflect the community identity.%u200B"

What’s a typical day like for you? "It is often like herding cats.  :)  

Actually, most days are a combination of helping collegues with their requests, finding ways to streamline and improve workflow, and troubleshooting problems.  Mixed in with that is list-pulling, overseeing major project timelines, and making sure I'm auditing various aspects of the database to ensure all data stays in alignment.  

I'm frequently figuring out how best to analyze and report on the sucesses of our initiatives."

What’s the best part of your job? "I *love* helping my colleagues find ways to make thier jobs easier.  Teaching them tips & tricks about Raiser's Edge is really fun.  That "ah-ha" moment when a shortcut key makes all the difference is so rewarding.  

I also enjoy the problem solving aspect of my job in relation to data.  Whether it is hunting down why numbers aren't reconciling, creating a new report to present data in a more meaningful and understandable way, or finding a software bug to share with BB so it can be fixed, coming up with solutions is the best!"

What advice would you give someone starting out in the non-profit field? "The best thing I can tell folks is learn as much as you can.  Read the documentation, print it out and use highlighters and post-it notes if you need to!  Use the knowledgebase.  Keep poking around until you get answers. Take the time to chat or call support.  Take the classes.  Make the case for your organization to invest in the training passes and take as many classes as possible.  GET CERTIFIED!  Just take the test - you might surpise yourself with how much you know already.  And if you don't pass, go take more classes and practice.  

Make friends with other users at different organizations.  Go to the user groups, get to conferences when you can, and get involved in the forums, community, and the unofficial facebook pages.  By developing a network of folks you can talk to you will then have resources for those questions that you just can't quite figure out on your own."

What do you love about the Blackbaud Community? "I've loved meeting folks at bbcon who I've "met" throught the community.  Having the opportunity to get to know other folks has provided me resources to do my job better.  It has also given me folks to commiserate with when the reality is that the product can't do what I want it to do!  

I also find the challengs fun and interesting.  It is a chance for me to give back of my expertise and experience to a larger audience."
Finally.. if you could have a theme song, what would that song be?: "'Golden' by Jill Scott.
Posted by Crystal Bruce on Dec 13, 2017 9:00 AM America/New_York

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A summer camp for grownups sounds AMAZING!  
  • Posted Thu 14 Dec 2017 09:11 AM EST
I just recently heard about grownup summer camps for the first time.  I loved camp as a kid, not so sure about now.  It was fun to read about your life and career, Carlene.  Love your collection of vintage handbags! 
  • Posted Thu 14 Dec 2017 04:12 PM EST