My Journey as a GPC
by Egondu Onuoha, GPC, MS, RDN, CDN, IBCLC, CDE/CDCES, FAND
I am currently the Vice President, Real Estate and Special Programs at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in NYC. Prior to this position, I was the Director of the Prenatal Care Assistance Programs(PCAP) and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Programs at the hospital for over 18 years.
I became a GPC in 2015 because although I was an administrator in a hospital setting, my work was 100% grant funded for almost 20 years. Having established my skills in writing and obtaining funding for causes and programs that I believe in, it became second nature that I obtain the GPC credential.
I am a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN); an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC); a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)/Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES); a Certified Dietitian/Nutritionist (CDN); a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and now, more recently, a Grant Professional Certified (GPC). In addition, I have several certificates of trainings in various fields.
Credentialing is a way of validating my knowledge, skills and education. As a black woman and an immigrant, education is one way of ensuring that in spite of the fact that I come from an underrepresented group; notwithstanding the struggles and challenges these groups have to overcome; I am determined to not let any of these factors impede my ability to succeed. Within these professions, the number of minorities especially Black (African Americans) are decimal and does not reflect the communities we serve.
We must as a group continue to strive for diversity, Inclusion, equity and access. We must articulate authentic commitment to diversity, challenge the status quo, hold ourselves and others accountable and make diversity a personal priority.
The GPC has offered me the additional confidence especially because grant writing is not my initial field of expertise or profession. As a clinician, it has helped me to venture outside of my clinical settings (which I have mastered quite well) into new areas. This journey has made me grow not just as a professional but also as a person. It has taught me cultural humility, strength even in times of weakness, and to stand up in the face of injustices even when it is difficult.
I will encourage everyone in the grant profession to consider achieving the GPC. I will also further encourage people in other professions who have been writing grants and doing research work to consider becoming a GPC. Credentialing keeps the public safe and validates our experiences, education and skill set.
I sincerely believe that the grant writing skills, in addition to my personal desire to explore new horizons and venture into new territories has been one of the most important steps in my journey into an executive position.