CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT
Donna K. Ramer
My road to Quest started in Queens, where I was born, grew up and launched my career in communications as a reporter for my hometown paper, The Bayside Times, at the age of 15. As an adult, and after several years living in other states and countries, I returned to New York City and recently celebrated 46 years in my Union Square apartment.
I joined Quest in 2018 and quickly became involved. My first semester, I jumped in to help others by filling the gap while Quest’s admin position was vacant and, very quickly, become acquainted with numerous members as well as our governance. In my second semester, I began to present and, during the lock-down, I was active on Zoom by presenting and leading discussions. Returning to Quest, I was involved in creating on-site activities as well as ways to engage members unable to return.
Currently, I sit on the council and am Acting Vice President; I chair the Membership Committee; I am editor of Prose for QReview and contribute to QNews fairly regularly; and I am a member of the Curriculum Committee. I also lead or co-lead the Creative Writing workshop, Symposium, and Toni Morrison courses. Other classes I have led or co-coordinated include Mythology, British Empire and British Culture.
Professionally, I am an award-winning communications specialist with an expertise in strategic planning, crisis and reputation management, and communications training. I have contributed to several books, professional publications, and Congressional set-aside programs. I have volunteered and held a number of board positions, and have a long history mentoring others.
I felt at home from my first day at Quest and a camaraderie with other members. My interest in being president is simple: I believe Quest has so much to offer and I want to continue to lend my expertise to maintain the integrity of Quest as we reach out to a wider audience and more actively engage Questers, at home and at 25 Broadway.
Question: Why do I want to be President of Quest? Because I love this organization and I want it to achieve the lofty goals envisioned by its founders.
Question: Why do I think I’m qualified for the job? Quest member for 14 years; have given 175 presentations; founded Culture-Quest; co-founder Technology committee; initiated Zoom classes during pandemic; coordinated Artists and their Work (4 years); coordinated History of Architecture (4 years); contributed to every issue of QReview since 2009; edited QNews; managed 100 engineers and technicians for transportation consulting firm; served as President, Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore.
Question: What is my vision for Quest? From our by-laws: Quest is a self-governing, adult oriented, peer-learning community, offering courses designed and delivered by its members as active participants in a shared educational and social environment. I am responsible for inserting the underlined words in the most recent revision of our by-laws as I recognized the importance of social opportunities for our members. However, I believe that first and foremost, we are an educational enterprise and should strive for academic excellence.
I also believe that we should integrate on and off-campus members into one community. We should advance a culture where each of these groups has equal status and benefits of membership. We should maximize accessibility to classes for all our members, whether they be off-campus or at 25 Broadway. The goal should be delivery of our classes to the maximum number of members, regardless of where they are physically located.
Question: What is the first thing I will do if I am elected? Ask for a recount. Seriously, with Council’s concurrence, I will appoint an Ombudsperson to act as advocate for our members who prefer to participate via Zoom. If the appointee so desires, she will form an ad hoc committee to identify specific needs of on-line attendees and bring those needs to Council’s attention.