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Meet an On-Ramper: Katrina Nill

“Meet an On-Ramper” is an interview series in which one of our team members discusses their work, their interests, and what it’s like to work at our search firm. In this edition, Katrina Nill (she/her) discusses her journey from part-time administrator to Project Coordinator, what she’s learned along the way, and how working at On-Ramps impacts her work as an animator and artist. 

How long have you been at On-Ramps and what is your role?

Katrina: I've been at On-Ramps since 2017. When I started, I was primarily supporting background reference checks for candidates, but over time I started to offer more general support to the administrative team. Around the beginning of the pandemic, I transitioned from a freelancer to a part-time administrative coordinator, taking on more scheduling responsibilities and things of that nature. I enjoy working at On-Ramps and now that I’ve been here for a while, and as I became more familiar with the work, I started to take on new projects. Over the last few years, I gradually added hours until I naturally transitioned to full time.

Now, I’m working on the project coordination side, which feels like a very good fit for me. I don’t come from a corporate, desk-job type of background, so this type of role is new to me in many ways. But, I have a lot of On-Ramps-specific experience and am genuinely passionate about the work we do here which motivated me to step into this role. I’ve already learned so much about nonprofits and the recruitment field over the past five years. I’m excited to be here as On-Ramps continues to grow.

What energizes you about being a Project Coordinator at On-Ramps?

Katrina: I enjoy thinking about how we can make our internal processes more efficient and organized, and then seeing those streamlined processes in action. It’s very satisfying to know that I helped make a project happen. Because we’re growing so quickly, it’s even more important that our internal systems run as smoothly as possible so that we can keep up with that growth.
This is a new role and it was shaped by all the projects and responsibilities I was taking on that didn’t directly relate to my previous role. I functioned as the go-to support for whatever people needed, which led to a diverse portfolio of work. It’s cool to still be able to be that support system but more officially. I’m looking forward to continuing to explore and expand this role.  

In your bio, you mention that you’re also an animator and artist. Does that influence your work at On-Ramps at all? If so, how?

Katrina: I think my work at On-Ramps and my process for making art influence each other. Working on my art can be isolating in a way because I’m working by myself and on my timeline. Working at On-Ramps can be very grounding because my work is a lot more concrete and I’m able to see the fruits of my labor in a more immediate, measurable way. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so seeing projects move along and come to completion on a specific timeline is a good reminder for me to move my personal projects along without getting hung up on every detail. I also work collaboratively here, which is a nice balance to the individual work I do as an artist. 

I’ve also gained a lot of skills from managing my own work and timelines as an artist. My art projects are completely self-directed, so I have to map out my vision for the project and then organize the steps I need to take to bring that vision to fruition. That’s a skill that directly applies to coordinating projects at On-Ramps. 

How do your other passions and interests outside of work influence your work as a Project Coordinator?

Katrina: The common thread between my other interests is problem-solving. I see my love of Tetris and puzzles coming into play with my scheduling work. I look at scheduling as a puzzle where you have to fit pieces together and rearrange them. Similarly, I like to rock climb and boulder, which also involves a lot of fast thinking and problem-solving. I find it very satisfying to solve things.
Beyond the search process, I know you’re very involved in the internal and external communications initiatives at On-Ramps. How did you become involved in those initiatives and what motivates you to keep going with that work?

Katrina: I’m always curious and eager to learn new things. I do use social media a little bit to promote my art, but I feel that I have a lot to learn. Working on On-Ramps’ communications team lets me be a part of our internal conversations and our conversations with work with our creative agency, Thinkso, where everyone is thinking strategically. I find it all very insightful and interesting. In general, anytime I learn a new skill at On-Ramps, I think it informs other parts of my life as well and contributes to my overall growth. 

Right now, we’re working on streamlining all of the templates and internal documents we use to make them look more professional. I’m extremely proud to be working on that project in particular because having everything standardized feels like an indicator of how much On-Ramps has grown.

What do you like most about working at On-Ramps?

Katrina: Definitely the people. From the time I started freelancing here, I was struck by how nice everyone was. On-Rampers genuinely value collaboration, which, in my experience, is rare in the workplace. There’s also a fantastic culture of encouragement and growth. When I make a mistake, my coworkers are invested in explaining it to me and making sure that I understand the impact in a constructive way. It feels very productive and supportive. It's nice to be in an environment where the mindset is that mistakes are going to happen and what matters is how you correct and move forward. 

I also like knowing that I’m helping to support organizations that are mission-driven and pushing for social change. It feels good to help make an impact with that work. 

On-Ramps really does practice what it preaches. As a business, On-Ramps is advising other companies on how they should lead and support their employees. They do a good job of following their own advice and making sure that they’re not just telling others how to lead, but leading that way themselves.