Admin Month Spotlight 2024: Tom Niemisto

April 12, 2024


Tom Niemisto, Office Coordinator at Carleton College

For Admin Month 2024, we've decided to highlight an admin once per week for the entirety of April. Next up: Tom Niemisto, Office Coordinator for the Alumni Annual Fund at Carleton College!

Check out Tom's advice video below! 


How did you get into the administrative field and how has your role changed since being in the profession?  

I often gravitate towards a cause I care about and find some way to get involved with my skillset. I had my first admin role ten years ago with a youth development nonprofit that operated a summer camp in the Twin Cities West Metro, and I served as Operations Coordinator & Executive Assistant to the CEO. Early on in this space, I learned a tremendous amount from online resources from Dave Crenshaw, David Allen, April Stallworth, and Melissa Peoples. Currently, I’m working in higher education fundraising and alumni volunteer management. I love the dynamic energy on college campuses and aligning myself with the mission of widening access to a robust liberal arts education. 

Even within ten years, I've seen less reliance on hard-copy paper filing and more use of digital collaborative tools and document sharing. I see how the COVID pandemic has highlighted the critical roles that admins perform in many sectors to keep operations running smoothly and promote teambuilding during times of uncertainty. Emphasis on work/life balance has also been elevated for many in favor of working remotely.

I know that the administrative  role will continue to evolve with the implementation of AI tools and automated tasks. Especially with writing, we as admins will shift our role away from being copywriters and towards editors of content. It will be an ongoing challenge to figure out what to do with that time saved when using AI (ex: add on more tasks, or lean into reflection, strategy, and growth?).

What are you most proud of as an Admin? 

When studying for the PACE exam, I remember the topics of leading from within and managing up resonating with me strongly. I view my coordinator role as a strategic partnership opportunity, offering valuable support without the full leadership responsibilities of a managing director.

How has ASAP supported your personal and professional growth?

I was able to attend the Administrative Professionals Conference in fall 2022 as well as several ASAP webinars. Getting certificated had also been on my radar for a few years and in fall 2023, I passed the PACE exam. It was a wonderful learning experience to go through and quite validating to review skills I had already mastered, plus re-engaging work priorities about which I care deeply. I plan to seek out more professional development opportunities with project management and learn how I can responsibly plug in AI and automation into my workflows.

I’m enjoying the interactivity and supportive tone in the ASAP Circle feature and I’ve attended several Coffee Breaks in the last year. I'm glad to see increasing chatter and resource sharing for higher ed admins, specifically!

What is your professional superpower? 

I have excellent follow-through—using calendar tasks, reminders, snoozing, and time-blocking in just the right ways so nothing falls through!

More About Tom:

Tom Niemisto is the Office Coordinator for the Alumni Annual Fund at Carleton College, where he supports the Director of the Annual Fund and a team of nine associate directors focused on alumni engagement and higher education fundraising. He has been in this role for four years and often draws on previous experience as a multimedia producer and customer service expert.

He earned the Professional Administrative Certificate of Excellence (PACE) from the American Society of Administrative Professionals in late 2023 and attended APC in 2022 and 2021. Tom enjoys serving on the professional development committee for the Carleton staff resource group.

Tom is a parent of a busy two-year-old, plays cello with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, and is an active knitter.

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