CASBO Career Chronicles: Lisa Konarski Edition
Director of Prevention Services
Schools Insurance Authority
Lisa Konarski always loved to write. She may not have pursued her childhood dream to become a screenwriter, but instead developed her writing skills and found a career that helps foster the education for thousands of students.
In an interview with Lisa, we learn just how a career path to school business can manifest:
Question: What was growing up like?
Answer: I grew up in the Bay Area. My childhood was great — my folks always encouraged us to do what interested us. When I was young, I really liked movies, reading and writing. I thought I might be a screenwriter when I grew up.
Q: Where did you get your education?
A: My love for writing led me to earn my bachelor’s in English at California State University, Sacramento. I also took advertising classes in college which helped me land my first job in marketing.
Q: How did you end up in school business?
A: My first real job after college was as the marketing coordinator for a financial planning firm in Sacramento. It was a difficult office culture, so I quickly looked for other opportunities. I started with Schools Insurance Authority [SIA] as an administrative assistant in the Loss Control Department. My primary interest in the job was writing and editing the newsletters. I really enjoyed working with our school district members and built many rewarding relationships.
Q: How long have you been involved in CASBO?
A: 21 years! Each year I look forward to connecting with friends and colleagues that I don't get to see on a regular basis.
Q: How did you hear about CASBO?
A: One of our SIA board members took me to a meeting. I don’t remember why, but that was my first exposure. We were discussing topics outside my direct role, and it really peaked my interest. My involvement grew from there. The longer I stayed involved, the more opportunities I discovered. When you’re participating and giving back, you’re going to learn.
Q: What’s your favorite memory as a CASBO member?
A: At conference each year, it’s fun to reconnect with old friends and have some time to socialize and catch up. I’ve had the opportunity to be Sacramento Section president, Risk Management Professional Council state chair, and to be part of the Annual Conference Committee (which was really eye opening — made me appreciate how much goes into planning a conference), the Continuing Education & Certification Committee, working on a marketing team and more.
Q: In what ways has CASBO help you cultivate your career?
A: CASBO has afforded me the opportunity to learn what’s going on with the schools up and down the state. I don’t work directly in a school district, so CASBO is crucial for me to get opportunities to learn about the daily challenges and numerous responsibilities that schools have. I believe my ongoing exposure to these challenges helps me better serve our schools.
Q: What are your career goals yet to be achieved?
A: Schools face new challenges each year, and I want to provide district staff with resources that are practical and timely. I also want to help develop and encourage new school staff to be their best and share their gifts with their districts.
Q: What advice would you give to a new CASBO member?
A: There is always something new to learn and everyone in the district contributes to education! Those in nutrition services ensure that students can focus on their school work rather than be distracted by hunger. Custodians and maintenance staff ensure our schools look their best and function well so students feel cared for and respected. I would encourage new members to check out the numerous trainings, take advantage of conferences and definitely get involved with your local section.