This interview is with:

Dr. Paul Ransdell: Senior Development Office for The Foundation for the Horse


Author’s Note: My hope is that when reading these interviews, they give you a brief, fun break from your daily routine and perhaps stimulate you to engage with others in new ways. The eleven questions are typical of how I get to know my clients during our first meeting.

  1. Where are you today and what do you notice as you look around the space you are in right now?
    We are in the trade show of the 65th Annual Convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. We are looking at a massive trade show of hundreds of vendors and thousands of participants that support the veterinary profession in the equine industry.
  1. If you weren’t working what would be your ideal (real or imagined) most peaceful place to be?
    Surrounded by family, food and fun. That is not unlike what I see here, though there are no blood relations.
  1. How did three people influence you, personally or professionally, throughout your life?
    Bill Crouch, former President of Georges Town College was a friend and mentor to me. He introduced me to the profession of fundraising and gave me a sense of purpose and fulfillment in my professional life. A High School teacher named Jim Wright, who gave me a love for music that has stayed with me for all of my adult life, as both a Percussionist and lover of music. Sue Bislisel, my High School journalism and English teacher, who affirmed me in my use of language and creative expression. She helped me to be a better writer.
  1. Who currently inspires you?
    Guy Adams, CEO of a large Human Services agency in rural Appalachia. He introduced me to the idea of really high-performance standards and celebrates people when they can reach or exceed the bar.
  1. What do you consider your greatest attribute?
    People trust me. People know authenticity and the opposite. For people to be willing to have conversations with me about their assets, values, and hopes beyond this life they have to have a level of trust in me.
  1. What do you think you might need to work on?
    I need to work on many things. I’d like to be a better father even though I’m a good one. In these times it becomes increasing challenging. I’m a good and capable public speaker but I’d like to be really good at it. So much of it is our self-talk and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Including the mental games we play to get ourselves to do things beyond what we believe to be our capacity or ability.
  1. What do you think has been your greatest achievement?
    Professionally it would be my academic career. I was a really struggling elementary school student, an average middle school student, and a okay high school student, a struggling undergraduate and at some point I became academically very serious. So, I pursued a Master’s degree and did well and got into a selective major research university that took only ten students a year. It was a very rigorous interview process at Vanderbilt University and earned a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration. It is not wholly who I am but I feel good about that academic achievement. As I say that I’m looking around at a whole convention center full of people with Doctorate’s and it’s not in this context it’s not a big deal. I feel like I have earned my stripes.
  1. What do you tend to say most often?
    At work fundraising is not primarily about money. It’s about engaging people with a mission they can believe in and move into their most philanthropic or generous selves. In my day to day life I have this philosophy that we get to decide what kind of people we are going to be.
  1. What do you value most in others?
    Being kind to one another and being our genuine selves. We are all people going through this life together. We are all human after all.
  1. What types of things do you like to read?
    I like to read poetry and I like to read trade journals. I enjoy poets like Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, James Whitcomb, and John Jacob Niles who crosses over with Appalachia folk music.
  1. What curious or unusual thing might others be surprised to know about you?
    Most people don’t know that I like poetry and like to play music. I grew up playing in the school concert band and orchestra. I played 70’s pop music in garage bands and church music in mid-adulthood. Music and poetry are therapeutic to me. They are my method of decompressing and processing life events.

© Trudi Howley M.S., SEP, LPCC, CPC is a Somatic Psychotherapist and Certified Professional Coach, specializing in trauma healing.