It’s week 5 of our “Meet Our Team Monday” series! This week we sat down with Vice President of Client Services & Fund Development expert, Brent Hafele. Brent’s enthusiasm & passion for the nonprofit sector is just one of the many reasons we are blessed to have him as part of the DBA team. We sat down with Brent & asked him our 10 questions. Let’s see what he had to say…
- What did you do before joining Dickerson, Bakker & Associates?
I was president and owner of NewDay Nonprofit Solutions, a consulting firm that helped nonprofits become more vibrant and sustainable. We provided counsel on fundraising, planning, and leadership development.
- Where did you go to college?
I attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communication with an emphasis in Leadership Development. I wanted to become a leadership trainer at a company like Disney or 3M. Later, I earned my Master of Arts in Philanthropy and Development from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
- How did you hear about Dickerson, Bakker & Associates?
Derric Bakker, the President at DBA, approached me at a conference years ago. We were both working our respective booths and he invited me to join him for a walk. A year later he invited me to join the firm, however, I declined. It didn’t feel like the right time to change lanes.
- What made you decide to come work for Dickerson, Bakker & Associates?
Last fall, Derric ran into a close friend and mentor of mine, Kevin Foster, at Atlanta’s airport (ATL). As they sat down to discuss their respective businesses, Derric revealed that DBA was doing so well that it didn’t have enough talent to meet the demand. Kevin suggested considering this Brent Hafele guy and Derric acknowledged that he tried but Brent just wouldn’t budge. So Kevin gave me a call and encouraged me to consider it more deeply. I was frankly struck by the fact that Kevin and Derric just “ran into each other” at the busiest airport in the world AND their flight schedules allowed each to take time to connect. It seemed like a God thing!The people at Dickerson, Bakker and Associates made the biggest impression to me. They were really smart, competent professionals at the top of their game, yet they were also humble and genuine. All had a clear love of the Lord and desire to be of service to Him and His children. They were the type of people I wanted to work with.
- What do you look forward to most when starting to work with a new client?
Clients hire a consultant to help them take their practice and impact to the next level. I look forward to the moment when our counsel “clicks” for the client and that client suddenly shifts gears from third to fourth. It is so fun to see their growth and development. It is rewarding to see their new confidence and joy in their new found capabilities.
- What is one goal you hope to achieve with a client when starting a new project?
My number one goal when starting a new project is to earn the client’s trust. If a client doesn’t trust me, they will not receive the counsel I can provide to make their agency better. Here are a few things I do to gain trust. First, I take the time to listen to the client. Listening is an active process. The client needs to be heard, seen, and respected for the work that they have done. Second, I am very intentional to let the client know that I care about them as a person and not just their agency. I ask about family and how life is going for them. Finally, I encourage clients to contact me at any time with questions, concerns, or when they need encouragement. My work with the client is a partnership. I can’t help them if they are hesitant to reach out.
- What is your favorite part about being a part of Dickerson, Bakker & Associates?
There are many things I love about being a consultant. Let me share my top two. First and foremost, I love the friendships that come from this work. I have many clients who have become good friends through our work together. These friendships have added a richness to my life that I treasure. Second, I love the adventure of consulting. I get to go to beautiful places all over North America, meet amazing people, and solve problems that change the world for good. It is hard to pass up.
- What’s the best/craziest thing that has happened to you out in the field?
I had a prospective client on the Island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. We had been connecting for the better part of a year when they mentioned they were hosting a board retreat. I jokingly suggested that if they pay my travel, I would facilitate the retreat at no charge. They took me up on it. Thus, I booked my flight and was on my way to “work” in the Virgin Islands. It gets better though. They made arrangements for me to stay at a rental villa owned by one of their board members. The villa was amazing. I had a 180 degree view of the ocean, a private salt water pool and Jacuzzi, my own kitchen, a whole house sound system, and a fully stocked kitchen. Crazy thing was the villa rents for $9,500 per night, and I had it all to myself! The only bummer was my wife Jennifer was not able to enjoy it with me.
- What is one thing about you that might surprise people?
I am actually a boarder-line extravert introvert. Many people who know me professionally assume I am highly extraverted. I need both time with people and time alone. I am often uncomfortable in unstructured social settings like parties or “networking events” preferring instead one-on-one or small group situations. That is part of why consulting is such a good fit for me. I can get my people fix working with my clients and colleagues yet also find time to write, read, plan, and process on my own.
- What is there anything else you’d like people to know?
Not that I can think of right this minute but, if anything changes, you’ll be the first to know! 😉
About the Series: Over the next few months, we will do a weekly feature of one of our team members giving you ‘insider access’ to our group of unique & talented folks that are in the field working with DBA clients day in & day out. We are proud to have built a team of industry experts from across the nation that not only know the in’s & out’s of the business but have a demonstrated track record of achieving real success.