For Immediate Release
Denyce Tuller, 702-382-3445, ext. 122
Emily Buer, 702-382-3445, ext 123
UAH GRADUATE EXCELS IN WORK WITH NONPROFITS
August 6, 2013 – LAS VEGAS, NV – Since her career with nonprofits began nearly 20 years ago, Linda Quinn has established quite the reputation of turning an organization around from debt to success.
Quinn began her work with nonprofits with the American Red Cross while pursuing a law degree at the Birmingham School of Law. Working for a nonprofit while being enrolled in school was a challenge, but she was no stranger to having to manage her time wisely.
While pursuing an undergraduate degree in Accounting at The University of Alabama at Huntsville Quinn worked during the day and spent her nights in class.
“I have a family that consists almost entirely of accountants and nurses. I had two uncles that were CPAs and I started by going to work for one of them and then I went to school,” says Quinn. “So I worked during the day and I went to school at night at UAH. And it took me six years doing that to obtain my undergraduate degree.”
After completing her undergraduate degree, becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and taking time to have a baby Quinn decided she wanted to go back to continue her education.
At this point she moved away from Huntsville for the first time in her life and began her work with the American Red Cross in Birmingham. Once in Birmingham, she enrolled at the Birmingham School of Law and spent the next four years pursuing her second degree.
She split her time in Birmingham between her classes and her work with nonprofits. After working for the American Red Cross when she first started school, she went to work for Gateway.
Gateway is the oldest social service agency in Birmingham and is dedicated to transforming the lives of families in crisis and delivering hope to the hurting. Quinn made her mark by turning around this long running but financially strained organization into a financially strong organization. Quinn then stepped into the museum world and went to work at McWane Science Center in Birmingham. A year later, the CEO of McWane Center moved to run Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC. He immediately hired Quinn to help improve the financial status of that museum.
Although she still had a semester of law school left, Quinn was determined to make the situation work. After working a year at Discovery Place, she returned to Birmingham in order to finish her classes and graduate. By the time she completed her law degree she was the Executive Vice President at Discovery Place.
Quinn was making a practice of leaving her financial mark on every nonprofit organization she worked for. When she began working at Discovery Place, it was broke. When she left they had $2.1 million in cash reserves.
According to her, “A lot of my strength has been to come in and to fix the nonprofits and to really look at them strategically and identify where their problems are and balance it with the mission. I love the fact that nonprofits are mission-oriented and therefore you really have a reason to come to work and feel better at night when you’ve gotten something done and it all goes toward the mission.”
Quinn credits her ability to turn organizations around to her background in accounting. She learned early on to be strategic and to set up systems that are going to sustain a company and allow them to grow.
In 2006, the board of trustees of Lied discovery Children’s Museum hired Quinn to turn around a financially struggling museum with a going-concern audit. The museum was in debt and outdated. Quinn put strategies in place that replaced two thirds of the exhibits and improved the educational programs. The result was a financially strong museum with attendance that had doubled.
With these improvements in place Quinn, her staff, and the Board of Trustees began to focus on the museum’s long-term vision of relocating to a new facility. The vision of a new home had been in place before Quinn was hired but there was no strategic plan. Quinn built a plan that focused on creating a new world class learning experience for the children in Southern Nevada. The museum selected some of the best exhibit design firms across the country and with talented staff, designed nine unique exhibit galleries focused on the arts and sciences. This $50 million project was launched during a bad economy, but to the credit of the community and the board of trustees, the campaign was successful.
“I grew up in a city [Huntsville] that was focused on science and innovation. It has been a dream come true to inspire children to learn more about the arts and sciences, especially in a city that is not often focused on children.”
Their hard work paid off and Lied Discovery Children’s Museum reopened in Symphony Park as th DISCOVERY Children’s Museum on March 9, 2013. Since the opening the museum has seen a dramatic increase in the number of visitors attending as well as renewed citywide interest in the museum. The new museum is projected to reach an annual visitation of 350,000 families and children, making it one of the larger children’s museums in the country.
Now that DISCOVERY Children’s Museum has been open for almost five months, Quinn is shifting her focus to the future.
“It’s time for a new master plan. There is always more to learn, and therefore always more to teach.”
Whatever direction the DISCOVERY Children’s Museum takes in the near future, it will be under good direction with Quinn at the helm.