Getting to Know Program Manager Tess Beem

Janet Wilkinson

Tess Beem joined us as the Events and Seed Grants Program Manager this past summer. She manages the logistics and delivery of the Grassroots Fund’s events, including the annual RootSkills Training Series, and the ‘Seed’ Grant program. Before her work with the Fund, Tess worked on the coast of Maine, helping to sustain Maine's year-round, un-bridged island communities. Through this work with the Island Institute, Tess coordinated a collaborative teaching and learning community for Maine's remaining one-room, island schools. During her spare time, Tess can be found ambling up the White Mountains, running around the soccer field and putting on unsolicited (though enthusiastic!) ecology lessons.

Q: What do you like most about your job so far?

The opportunity to engage with so many driven, enthusiastic community members who are working across such a broad array of issue areas, finding connections and solutions that I could never dream up! I'm blown away by the grassroots organizers, volunteers, movers and shakers I get to work with. They give me hope.

Q: What’s your pitch to someone who’s on the fence about committing to go to RootSkills Conference?

This event has been created by community organizers in a way I've never experienced before. From our 27-person planning committee, to the workshop presenters, community organizers from across New England have lead the way in designing and planning this event. And because of that, our hope is that the event will meet the needs of just about any group, working across diverse issue areas, or at various stages of organization or group development.

Q: What’s one thing that will be the same and one thing that will be different from last year’s Rootskills Conference?

Same - workshop tracks framed around issue area and process-based skill builders. Like I said, there's something for everyone!

Different - our keynote speaker, recently announced to be Kali Akuno from Cooperation Jackson! Very exciting news for us!

Q: What’s the most common question you receive about the conference?

"How do I sign up?" ... I wish it was always in an enthusiastic, rhetorical response to learning about the event (which it has been!), but it's usually just someone who wants the registration link

Q: What’s something new you tried recently?


Q: Favorite place in New England and why?

I can't disclose that information, because then it will get wildly popular. I'll give you a hint that it's in my home state, Maine...

Q: A random piece of advice you’ve heard or tidbit about you that you’d like to share with the GF community?

I recently read that most people are comfortable with about 3.2 second of eye contact from a stranger. I'm conducting personal research as follow up.

Q: Closing thoughts?

See you at the conference!

Yes, see you there!