Toni Candis

Fellowship Year: 2022-2023 Impact Fellow
Fellowship Location: Houston, Texas
Fellowship Placement: KIPP Texas

What I did before EP:
Prior to joining the EP Impact Fellowship, I served in diverse roles in local government, where I spearheaded public service projects. Additionally, I allocated federal funding to support social service programs, housing, and public infrastructure projects and oversaw grant-funded afterschool programs.

Working as an Analyst, Project Coordinator, and Project Director, I gained invaluable expertise in project management, data analysis, and operational strategy. Each opportunity allowed me to successfully navigate complex initiatives while effectively collaborating with key stakeholders and cross-functional teams. These proficiencies laid a solid foundation for my seamless transition into the EP Impact Fellowship. My educational background includes a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Texas Southern University, a Master’s in Social Work with a concentration in administration from the University of Houston, and a certificate in Executive Non-Profit Leadership from Rice University.

What I did during the Fellowship:
My primary focus as an EP Impact Fellow includes establishing effective collaboration and operationalizing financial grants management processes. By bringing together multiple stakeholders, I improved project management tools and developed standardized guidelines for managing grants from pre-award, award, and post-award. Through these efforts, I helped to make the grant process transparent, efficient, and effective across all divisions.

What I learned from the Fellowship:
The intricate nature of change management within systems operations has been one of my most valuable experiences during my Fellowship. I have come to appreciate the critical rollout within systems. Because change is ever-present, it is a challenge for organizations; I gained practical knowledge in navigating this landscape. Additionally, the EP Community of Practice (COP) Cohort was an invaluable learning experience. I cherished the dedicated space it provided for engaging with fellows through active listening, fostering mutual accountability, and exchanging best practices to support one another.