Spotlight on Teri Grein

Teri Grein ’16 is a program coordinator for WFAA’s Alumni Relations and Engagement division. A native of Wisconsin Rapids, she is a first-generation college graduate who worked for WAA as an intern while she was earning her degree in English and Communication Arts. After graduation, she was hired fulltime and has been with WFAA for a year and a half. In her previous life, Teri enjoyed competing in beauty pageants and was named Miss Teen Wisconsin International when she was 18.

What brought you to WFAA?
I started as a student guide for Grandparents University (GPU) as a freshman. I was an intern with Kate Prehn ’09 (WFAA’s senior director of engagement programs) on our Learning team through 2016, and when I graduated, I was hired fulltime as an engagement program specialist and then became a program coordinator this past July. I guess my passion for the university really led me here, and seeing how passionate about the university everyone who works here is — whether they’re Badgers or not.
What is your role here?
My job involves engaging alumni and friends of the university by planning, executing, and providing support for several programs. Grandparents University is one of the programs I work on, where I do anything from customer service to event execution along with 10 other team members. I also work on Homecoming and with our Learning events, including Global Hot Spots and Wednesday Nite at the Lab. Most recently, I’ve been working on career networking programs such as Success and the City, and on the UW Now campaign events. For the UW Now events, we’re engaging several faculty members to go around the country to participate in panel discussions for all of our alumni in different areas.
What opportunities for career growth have you had?
When I started as an intern, I could see others within the organization really growing, and that was one of the reasons I really wanted to work here. It seemed like a place where you could grow quickly and there were a lot of people advocating for your career growth. Within the year I was working here fulltime, I was able to become a program coordinator because of all the interest I expressed in other programs and different areas of the organization. Being able to go to different conferences and learn about what other people are doing in alumni relations and engagement work has also been very helpful to me. So I’ve been able to learn a lot in a very short time.
What three words would you use to describe WFAA?
Passionate, spirited, and driven.
What is your favorite thing about working for WFAA?
My favorite part is being able to interact with many alumni that I never would have had the opportunity to interact with otherwise. GPU is a really great example, because we get to meet alumni who attended 30 to 50 years ago and to see how the university has changed since their time on campus and hear their stories.
What do you find most challenging at WFAA?
One thing I find challenging is you can’t be involved in everything. There are so many other programs in our organization in areas like development, marketing, communications — there are so many different teams that do so many cool things. The Flamingle [WAA’s e-newsletter], for example — I see that and man, sometimes I wish that I had something to do with that. You want to be able to do it all — but you can’t do it all!
What would you say about your co-workers?
Something that I wanted in a job was to have great people who loved coming to work every day and loved what they do. Being able to work with people who really care about the work that they’re doing — that makes me happy to come to work. I think we work with very caring, compassionate, hard-working colleagues at WFAA.
What is your favorite thing to do in Madison?
One of my favorite things is to go to the Farmer’s Market. My other favorite thing is definitely to go to the Terrace, whether you’re watching the sun set or enjoying a brat. … When I was a student, I studied at the Terrace all the time.
What would you say to someone who is considering working at WFAA?
You will not regret it. You will find that your colleagues really want to better the university and the community. There will be challenges in the job, but the challenges are so worth it to be able to see the outcome. And you will have people who are pushing you the whole way to do your best. In addition to all the hard work, there is also a lot of fun that comes along with it. The work is extremely rewarding.