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Podcast: Planned Giving With Jennifer Peavey

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On this episode of the NC State Philanthropy Podcast, we’re talking with the College of Design’s Jennifer Peavey about how she plans to support the university through a special gift from her 401(k) plan following her passing. Our interview explores Jennifer’s childhood in a Wolfpack home, how her career led her to NC State for a master’s degree and why she ultimately decided to make the university a beneficiary of her will.

Listen to “Planned Giving With Jennifer Peavey“ here via Spotify, or visit the Apple podcast store, the Google podcast store, Stitcher or Podbean.

To listen to this and other episodes of the NC State Philanthropy Podcast, visit the Apple and Google podcast stores, Spotify and Stitcher. Be sure to also subscribe in order to receive new episodes as soon as they’re released. You can visit our podcast webpage at Podbean, too, for direct downloads. However you listen, please leave a comment and rating to let us know how we’re doing!

Theme song (00:01):

Please listen carefully. 

Taylor Pardue (00:06):

Welcome to the NC State Philanthropy Podcast, telling the world how we Think and Do through the support of our friends, alumni and more. I’m your host, Taylor Pardue. On this episode, we’re joined by Jennifer Peavey, an NC State alumna, staff member and planned-gift giver who wants her mark on the Pack to last far into the future.

Taylor Pardue (00:45):

Welcome to the NC State Philanthropy Podcast. Today, we have Jennifer Peavey with us. She’s an alumna and staff member of the College of Design. Welcome to the podcast, Jennifer. 

Jennifer Peavey (00:53):

Oh, thank you, Taylor. I’m glad to be here. 

Taylor Pardue (00:55):

Um, so to kick things off, um, just tell us a little bit about your early life, how you came to be part of the Pack. I know you have a really rich back story and a family history with the university. 

Jennifer Peavey (01:05):

Sure, absolutely. So I am, let’s say, a second-generation <laugh>, uh, my father, uh, was the first to go to college and he is a graduate from NC State, um, in the chemical engineering program. And he then went from here to General Motors. That was a dream for him. He always worked on cars growing up, and that’s how people used to introduce him to mechanical engineering, thinking he would be good at that. Um, my family’s originally from North Carolina. Um, he was from Statesville, and my mother was from Maiden, a little town near, uh, Lumberton. And so I, um, though when I got to the point of looking for colleges, I ended up, uh, interviewing a number of universities and actually ended up at the one in, uh, the southern Carolina state of Clemson. And a lot of it at the time was just a matter of the classes were smaller. 

Jennifer Peavey (01:55):

I guess I was a little nervous about going into it, but then my sister immediately was at State, and then she married a good State grad. And what’s interesting is they’re all now in South Carolina and I’m the one that’s living here in Raleigh. So, I’m the one that takes the pictures of all the things that they remember, like, you know, D.H. Hill and the Brickyard and, um, even, uh, the red line and Groucho’s Deli — things on Hillsborough, things like that. So, I did end up going to Clemson and then, um, I ended up in Tennessee for a little while, and that was one reason I ended up back in Raleigh. It really felt like coming home. 

Taylor Pardue (02:31):

Uh, I know you’ve also been a loyal Wolfpack fan even when you were at “another” university but still rooted for the teams and everything. Tell us a little bit about that, growing up with the Pack. 

Jennifer Peavey (02:40):

Absolutely. Even though my father was with General Motors, um, we moved back when I was 4 back to North Carolina to be closer to, um, the grandparents and ended up in Charlotte. And, of course, you know, being in North Carolina, you have to be big on Tobacco Road basketball. And, of course, my parents, um, were tall people, or above-average tall people. So, basketball was our primary sport that we were into. Um, now I will say that my grandparents, uh, were either Wake fans or Duke fans, so it was a big thing in our family to, you know, keep all that together that we were NC State fans, but I was of the age, I was about 13 for the 1982-83 season. And it was a big deal in the Charlotte Observer. And, of course, I clipped every single article out in the Charlotte Observer for that entire season. 

Jennifer Peavey (03:28):

I will admit, though, being a teenager or a preteen coming into that, that, um, I had all sorts of weird ideas about being a jinx. And I did not watch a ball game that entire season, ’cause I was scared that they would lose. And so, but I collected all the articles and I did not watch the national championship game, but my parents did have a VCR and they taped it for me. And all I remember is them coming, running into the room, jumping on my bed <laugh>, and I remember waking up going, “What?” Right, right. But we had gone shopping. I had a special outfit to wear just in case that they had won so I could wear it to school the next day. And then, of course, I came home and it was nice. I at least knew they won, but um, it was nice, though, to be able to watch the game. 

Taylor Pardue (04:14):

I was gonna say that the VCR came in handy. Yeah. You got to watch it after all, but …

Jennifer Peavey (04:17):

It did, absolutely. So yeah, it, it was a big deal to be able to be part of that. 

Taylor Pardue (04:23):

So, tell us a little bit about how you came back to State then, or came to State for the first time, but how you finally found your way here and uh, what all you’ve done since. 

Jennifer Peavey (04:31):

Absolutely. So, um, so, yes, I was, uh, with Clemson and got my chemical engineering degrees from there, then, uh, ended up with sealed air in South Carolina at that time was cry back. So, that was in the Upstate, so, and in fact, I tell a lot of people, a lot of, I’ve got a nephew who is a senior in high school right now, and he’s between Clemson and NC State. 

Jennifer Peavey (04:54):

It’s hard for me to sway him one way or the other, but I do tell him, you know, your network ends up typically where you graduate from. And so, I tell him, I, you know, if you like living in South Carolina, then you know, Clemson’s probably good for you, but if you’d like to live, you know, elsewhere, then North Carolina may be great, as you can go other places. But it’s still, you know, your, your network set base, your network tends. And that’s one reason I ended up in the Upstate. So, um, at some point, I ended up just saying, “I think I could do something a little bit different,” or, I had grown, I had been introduced to industrial design, and I was finding this new space, and I really enjoyed it. And a recruiter called that, uh, picked me up, going to Eastman Chemical, that was in Kingsport, Tennessee. 

Jennifer Peavey (05:37):

Now, the irony there is, I thought, Well, that’s still the South. You crossed the other side of the Appalachians. No, <laugh>, it’s different, nothing wrong with it. Yeah. But it is different. And being in the mountains was completely different. Um, but after about two or three years there, uh, Eastman was actually looking for a university where they wanted to place or focus 75% of their external innovation money. We went through 200 different universities and ended up with a top four. And so, I was involved with the group when we got to those four, and really it was a top two, and if those two didn’t work out, the other two were backups. So I was involved in the site visits where we had a number of people and I had moved to Eastman. Part of it was the fact that they had a, a strong, um, marketing content towards industrial designers.

Jennifer Peavey (06:26):

And because of my experiences, seal air with industrial designers, it kind of wooed me in the fact, you know, you could, you know, engage with designers this way. And I thought, Oh yeah, this is gonna be great. Um, so part of what I was doing was, because I do not have a Ph.D., I was representing all the other things outside of the sciences, so the College of Management, um, probably CHASS, the communications and then obviously the College of Design. So, we came and interviewed, and NC State was chosen. And a lot of it was because of Centennial Campus <affirmative>, which is completely unique. Most universities have a research arm somewhere, but the fact of having students living on campus, the faculty teaching on the same campus and research where you could interact at a food truck was extremely, um, attractive to Eastman. 

Jennifer Peavey (07:15):

Um, after a couple of those interviews, I did kind of a inform the team <laugh> I didn’t really ask. I remember I was rather bold at the time, but said I will be there, whether you all allow me to be part of it or not, you know, there you go. Part of it. Yeah. I was gonna be there interacting with the College of Design. So, fortunately, um, ’cause I was an innovation and this particular group was technology. That was, that was doing all this about external, um, monies. So, they fortunately were like, OK, you’re welcome to come and share office space with us. So I joined the team on Centennial Campus to manage that relationship between NC State and Eastman. So, yeah, that’s how I at least got back to Raleigh. 

Taylor Pardue (07:55):

So, now you’re actually on the staff of the College of Design. How did that transition come about? And um, tell us a little bit about the master’s that you’ve earned through the College of Design.

Jennifer Peavey (08:04):

Yes. So, while I was here, that was the nice thing. I was not only engaging with the university, but um, I was sponsoring projects. I was searching for new projects and new technologies that would be useful. And then, uh, one of the things that Eastman wanted to do was, because of this emphasis on industrial design, is they wanted to have an industrial designer in-house. We, we had contracted with a lot of, uh, different firms and then obviously a number of universities, but this was the time to say, OK, we’d like to have somebody in-house. Not to substitute for it, but at least be able to elevate our questions. We would be able to better manage projects. So, if you know anything about where Eastman is, it’s Kingsport, Tennessee, which is, um, where Tennessee meets Kentucky and North Carolina and Virginia up in the corner and you know, the Bristol Motor Speedway. 

Jennifer Peavey (08:53):

Um, not the place that typically designers are in San Francisco and Manhattan and all sorts of things like that. So, they never felt like they could attract somebody and recruit them down there. So, the idea was, what if we made one of our own? And then have somebody who could stand in the gap. So, the fact that I did have the chemical engineering degree, and then we talk about having this design degree <affirmative> specializing in materials. Then we’ve got this opportunity to be able to bridge that gap between a Ph.D. chemist and then, you know, this highly talented industrial designer, which that was ended up being mostly what my thesis was about was strategy development based on user research, you know, how do people interact with products, um, when they touch like a cup or a switch plate or a tabletop or whatever it is or interacting with that, what is the experience like? 

Jennifer Peavey (09:45):

And so I did a lot of work on warm, uh, warm touch and cold touch and the way, um, materials felt over time, trying to understand, um, what was attractive, what would people be willing to pay more for because of that kind of experience and then how do you explain that experience? Not only to a designer and why it’s important, which typically means I need a prototype. I need to make something at the same time. How do you get a business person in there who doesn’t necessarily speak that language so they can figure out what companies who do we need to market to? And then the Ph.D. on what are the properties that would make that experience. And so trying to make sure all of these people saw how, particularly if you’re in a lab working with a flask and you’re making all these pellets and goo, how they know what they are doing directly influences that particular user experience and that person who is going to pay something additional for that particular experience. 

Jennifer Peavey (10:48):

And then, therefore, you get the loyalty and you get the word-of-mouth advertising and that type of thing. So, I was sitting in the middle between all of these things, which is what I was doing at NC State. And, um, and then what I was doing within professional way. So, how I transitioned then was, uh, while I was in school, management ended up changing and that kind of model was not as attractive. And so they were looking at a, a more traditional MBA way of looking at how we chose our innovation projects and how we determined those things. So, I was supporting other people in what they were doing, but what I was being offered was to go to a more traditional market-support market, um, which was going to be a lot of PowerPoint presentations and a lot of diving through a lot of data and not that kind of interaction …

Jennifer Peavey (11:40):

… that I had trained for. And I made the choice of staying as an industrial designer. So, I ended up leaving the company and, um, spent a year actually working at the College, the Wilson College of Textiles, um, over on Centennial Campus doing a similar type of job where I was taking a nascent technology out of, uh, the out of one of the research labs and then was creating some sort of prototype to demonstrate why that technology was important to creatives. And in this case, instead of industrial, we were looking at fashion designers or technical designers within the, the garment industry. And just trying to be able to say, “OK, this is what it’s worth,” and support those designers in being able to do their designs with this technology <affirmative>. You know, not telling them what they needed to do, but, but telling them what the possibilities were. 

Taylor Pardue (12:31):

It’s great to see how those skills transferred over so well into that different market, but yeah, equally valuable.

Jennifer Peavey (12:36):

Mm-hmm, and that is the nice thing, you know, there are a lot of degrees that are very specific about skills and you know, most of the sciences are about that, but design is almost like an MBA. And the fact that you leave with a toolkit, and communications may be similar that way, is that you leave with a toolkit and then, therefore, you can go to any of these industries and markets and apply those. And it’s, it’s kind of one of those degrees that way, or a way of thinking, that allows you to do that. 

Taylor Pardue (13:04):

So, what are you working on right now as part of the College of Design? 

Jennifer Peavey (13:07):

So, um, my contract with the College of Textiles was only for a year, and, um, I then decided to take a couple months off and adopted a puppy and had a “pup-ternity leave,” is what I like to call that. Um, I was then starting to say, OK, what was I gonna do then? I really did enjoy this idea of being able to offer all of me, not just design, because I was a brand-new designer. I mean, but with all of my experience, there’s a certain level of salary I was expecting, but I was a brand-new designer. So, to come out and just say I was a designer is a little difficult.

Jennifer Peavey (13:44):

I could go back to engineering, but hey, I had grown into these other spaces. And then there was innovation management that did sit in the middle, and that was OK, too, um, but I liked the idea of, of saying I am technical. I am able to do this side business with the management, but then I had this creative user side that I looked at. So, I spent a lot of time looking at that and trying to figure out what I was gonna do and ended up creating some sort of structure where I was trying to understand how I worked best and how I would find that. So, I did start offering freelancing services, and part of it did come down to, OK, what does, what do people need? But I do spend a lot of time looking at what people need and then helping them see how I can fill a gap. 

Jennifer Peavey (14:30):

It still is going back to this gap of between either the project or different groups of people that may not necessarily, um, communicate that well. So, what has happened then is one, one of my clients is now the College of Design. I’m not necessarily being a designer, but it’s because I can speak the language of design that I’m able to, these gaps, I’m able to work with them. And I’m basically doing project management and facilitation. I’m helping them figure out and supporting them in their decision-making. So, I’ve got three different projects right now. One of them is, um, the College of Design is turning 75 in the year 2023, and they want it to be more than just one party, and so, we’re spending a lot of time talking about what that means, and part of that is they want to be able to look at the history of the college. 

Jennifer Peavey (15:17):

Um, with the 75 years, it was, it, it was a very big thing in 1948 when they started the College of Design, and it was a very forward-thinking that came from, uh, the Chancellor Caldwell at the time on what would urban development be, as Raleigh was starting to come about. And it wasn’t just Raleigh, but it was this idea of what, what happens with the middle class now that people are able to afford homes and there was urbanization that was happening and how should cities be developed. And that was, that was a very big deal. And, um, at the time it was Dean Camp Hefner that was brought in, and he brought in some of the biggest rock stars in design at the time. And it, it still to this day is considered one of the hallmarks of design in that time period and what NC State did, um, so they wanna have a very accurate history. 

Jennifer Peavey (16:10):

We have a lot of information about that time period, but necessarily 65 years or the past 65 years is trying to understand what else happened. How many times did, uh, the College of Design deal with paradigm shifts, and how did they respond and how did they support the university or support North Carolina in that? So, we’d like to have that, um, then making sure that people know more, you know, when you’ve got the fourth-largest engineering school in the nation, within the university, and this is the smallest college at the university, sometimes the College of Design gets overlooked. So, making sure that everybody knows what has happened and what the College of Design is today, and what they could be in the future. And then the third major thing is looking at, at some sort of grounding, what is the future of design education. 

Jennifer Peavey (16:58):

And part of that may be that then the College of Design kind of soul-searches on what, how do we support that future? But there’s so much that’s happening even just with the global pandemic, you know, you can say, we all know there’s been a shift, but we know with the information age and we’re, we know with Gen Z coming out that there’s going to be a huge shift in how people live, how people interact, what they wanna be able to do. And so, what do the designers of tomorrow need to be able to meet those challenges? Not only of this paradigm shift that we know are in the middle of, but there’s gonna be another one and another one and another one that’ll be coming, small or, or big or yeah. Smaller or big that’ll be coming up so, …

Taylor Pardue (17:37):

Well, so, that actually offers the perfect segue to what I was going to talk to you about next with your extensive involvement with NC State and now the College of Design specifically. You’ve chosen to make a planned gift, um, benefiting the college, and, specifically, professors in the college. Tell us a little bit about your gift, why you chose planned giving and what you hope to accomplish, uh, in furthering these goals of the college. 

Jennifer Peavey (17:59):

Sure. Well, planned giving is what I could do, is what it comes down to. Um, you know, I am trying to start this freelancing business and, so, everything is being sunk in to that, but, you know, I can look at, in, in my case, my 401(k) and say, “This is something that I can do.” Um, so that is, that was one way I looked at it. Now, specifically about the professors or the professorship, a lot of that comes back to my time where I was at Eastman and I was interacting. So again, I was sponsoring, I was a student, um, I was mentoring college or other professors on what they could do to interact with, with Eastman. And there, there were many times I would sit in an office and somebody would say, “Jennifer, you need, we need your Eastman hat,” or, “We need your student hat,” or, “We need your friend hat.” You know, there would be times where, um, yes, I was representing Eastman, but there were times that I was like, OK, now let me coach NC State on how to deal with this particular project, or even coach on how to deal with some other corporate entity. You know, because it is a different world between academic and, uh, corporate, but what would come out of that was I would see how complex everything was that was going on. Definitely, …

Taylor Pardue (19:12):

I’m sure.

Jennifer Peavey (19:13):

… because part of it was not only, “OK, so how do we educate the students?” And, and we have these opportunities for them, and so I’d step in and try to help with that as well. If they needed me to speak or, you know, sometimes it’s kind of like, you know, your parents telling you something, you know, somebody else tells you, it’s easier to hear that way. So, if I could come in and say something, maybe the students would listen to me, vice versa would happen, too, is I was a student. Some of the students would say, “Hey, can, can you go ask this professor this?” And so, it would go both ways, because the professor might listen to me instead of, you know, a 20-year-old asking for that, so it would go back and forth, but then there was a, um, how to communicate these things. 

Jennifer Peavey (19:54):

So, the students had done all this wonderful stuff. So, yes, there would be the normal thing. They might do posters, but then the idea of how do you put together basically a show or a symposium or a trade show type of thing where everybody has posters and they’ve got their products and they’re able to interact one-on-one. It was very complex, and there was so much going on with all of that, and part of what I felt like with the gift was because they’re so worried about fundraising and they’re, and that’s part of it. Yes, I was sponsoring projects, but if we could alleviate some of that complexity, that allows them to open base, to maybe think broader or, um, think about how they could put systems together to be able to make the experience better, not only for the corporate entity, but for the students, it might have been that it was supporting research. 

Jennifer Peavey (20:45):

We did have projects that, um, multiple semesters, that actually would end up being an enormous research project when you looked at the overarching, but it was just that idea of, instead of running a rat race day-to-day, alleviate some of the stress, such that somebody could have a longer-term view that they were looking at. And then that’s an upward spiral, you know? If they’re able to think more and create larger systems, then more students are attracted, higher-quality students are attracted, higher-quality faculty and staff are attracted to be part of it. And it would just be interesting to see where that could go. 

Taylor Pardue (21:24):

What would you say to someone who maybe has never thought about doing a planned gift before but is, uh, intrigued with the idea? 

Jennifer Peavey (21:31):

I, so I think part of it for me is, um, of course my entire estate planning, you know, you got the house, you got all sorts of other assets that are involved for me. It was very easy to just look at the 401(k) because there’s typically a beneficiary that’s in all of that. I liked the fact of knowing where it was going and what was happening to it. And even being able to have an opinion, you know, you might give it to your family and you hope for the best thing. And, and there’s still a whole lot of other assets that can be done that way. But in this case, you know, what’s happening. Um, in my case, I had a certain amount of money that, but the, then the state would match half of that money. And with all of that together, that was enough for the professorship. 

Jennifer Peavey (22:14):

So, it’s also knowing that, OK, I could do this right now and we could designate it, but this money is expected to grow over time. And we, we expect that we, we assume it is gonna grow over time. So, it’s also something that I could watch how it changes, and I am able to have another conversation with NC State when it gets to the point that it’s grown or that we could talk about something else or whatever it is, there’s this idea of “dreaming” with it. That’s kind of a nice thing because you really don’t know, and maybe the other assets are fine, but there’s something that you can have a conversation. It’s an active conversation, which is kind of nice, too. I, you know, estate planning or talking about death with your children or talking with your family can be a big deal.

Jennifer Peavey (22:56):

And it should be done. I know there’s, there’s a number of financial institutions I saw that are actually starting to try to facilitate those conversations. Not that they necessarily assume that they will be involved with whatever the planning is, but just helping people have those conversations. Maybe sometimes you can’t have that conversation, and this, it was just kind of nice to be able to start that with an entity that, you know, they’re gonna be OK, nobody’s necessarily at NC State’s gonna cry if I pass away. But it was an easy conversation to have, and it probably would make me brave to be able to have that conversation with my family members. 

Taylor Pardue (23:32):

A lot of what I do, uh, as a public communications specialist for the university is talking about planned giving, and it is a difficult conversation at times, but I think stories like yours and the idea that, yes, it is a gift, but it’s also an investment. It shows that you can have a say in how your money is spent afterwards, and just, this is something worth supporting. 

Jennifer Peavey (23:56):

Right. Absolutely. And I, and I also think that fact that it’s not just one conversation, that if things change …

Taylor Pardue (24:03):

That’s true, too. 

Jennifer Peavey (24:04):

Yeah. You know, technology may change or, um, emphasis may change. Um, the program may change. You know, you’re able to have that conversation and continue it. Um, and it, and it’s relatively easy to do. 

Taylor Pardue (24:20):

I think, so many times, people hear that “I’m making a gift” and they think of, OK, I’m turning, turning it over. It’s outta my hands. Now I don’t have any say, I don’t have control. But you really can be, especially with planned giving, you can be as specific as you’d like, you can still be involved and you can already see some of the benefits in your own lifetime and really see that, yes, my money’s being, or going to be, put to good use. And this is an entity that really does something worthwhile that I want to continue supporting. 

Jennifer Peavey (24:48):

Right. Yeah. And that, that does give some credibility. You’re exactly right. Because you are involved with this community of people who are planned giving, you know, in that way with the Pullen Society, you’re able to do that. You can watch and see what happens with money that may have been designated 20 years ago, and you can say, “OK, this is what will happen with mine.” And that not only you get to dream it, but there’s some comfort in it. And a little bit of, of knowledge of what’s going to happen.

Taylor Pardue (25:19):

Speaking of the Pullen Society and, and seeing some of the rewards of your investment ahead of time, for listeners who may not know, the Pullen Society is actually a lifetime giving society that honors and recognizes people who have made planned gifts to the university now, while they’re still alive. They can see, you know, they’re part of a bigger group, everyone, you know, however much you give or however you decide to give it, any planned gift is recognized by this giving society, and you are, um, enabled to attend different meetings and different things and really, um, to really be able to see that how much of an impact this makes on the university as a whole and individually. 

Jennifer Peavey (25:55):

Right. And, and I think there’s something to be, um, part of that community ’cause any other way, and maybe it’s because this is the first time I’ve done this with an entity, any other way, you really don’t necessarily have you, you do this with your lawyer, and that’s the only person who knows, you know? The fact that, that you have this community, you become part of something, and I think that’s, that’s comforting and that’s helpful. And, um, whether it’s legacy or not, it feels like you’re part of something, which I think is important, particularly after the pandemic, you know? We’ve all been so isolated. This idea that you can join something, and that might be part of why estate planning is so hard is, it’s, it is lonely to be able to do this and you, and there’s one person who knows about it. You know, like my parents would hand me their will and it’s all sealed and all of this …

Taylor Pardue (26:51):

Behind closed doors. 

Jennifer Peavey (26:52):

Yes. It’s behind closed doors, and I stick it in a fire box type of thing and it’s all hush-hush and secret, but this is one of these things that you can at least talk about the, that you did give now you might wanna keep the number, you know, private or whatever it is, but it’s still something that you can get out there and talk about, which I think is a good thing.

Taylor Pardue (27:12):

Oh yeah. We actually had the 2022 induction ceremony for the Pullen Society a few weeks before, uh, this podcast was recorded, and Chancellor Woodson was thanking everyone who had joined that year, and just previous members as well, for the courage that it takes to face the unknown and to, you know, want to ensure that their impact on the Pack is, uh, continued long after their passing. But, um, yeah, it is definitely, it goes with our overall ethos of “One Pack,” and really, just like you said, building that community and really letting everyone know that we are in this together. Um, faculty, staff, alumni, uh, just friends and donors, but, you know, it’s a great way to, um, really continue that community. 

Jennifer Peavey (27:59):

Absolutely. So, I do have, um, so I have three projects total with, um, the College of Design right now. And so, we talked about the 75th. Um, another project I have right now is actually on strategic planning. So, the university just came out with their Wolfpack 2030 goals, and now each of the colleges is going through their, uh, objectives on how to support those goals. So, there, again, much like with the 75th, we’re getting a bunch of people in a room trying to talk about how they want to make that vision a reality. And it is interesting. Um, so yes, I’m dealing with a bunch of creatives, which I am constantly amazed at how introverted and how analytical they can be <laugh>, because I, I’m used to that with engineers.

Taylor Pardue (28:48):

That’s job security is what that is, being able to bridge those gaps between the two demographics.

Jennifer Peavey (28:53):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But it, but it’s quite amazing. So, they are, um, looking at objectives, but one of the things the university is doing this time around. They have a strategic planning office, and they’re really looking at measurables and metrics, you know? “How well are we reaching these goals?” And so, for us to be able to sit down in the College of Design and say, “OK, how are we going to measure this <laugh>?” And it is really fascinating for how they step right up and go, “OK, well, we will do it this way,” and, “We will do it that way.” And, um, you know, the assumption is that creatives are gonna be flighty, all over the place and no, no, it’s, it’s, I think that might be, you know, maybe the difference between just an art school and now with this College of Design is no, there is purpose, you know? There’s a lot that happens that is for somebody else. 

Jennifer Peavey (29:41):

And, therefore, you’re, you’re having to communicate with somebody else, and these data or metrics or however we’re gonna measure it are a means of communicating. So, it, it’s been fascinating. And I, I think it’s, it’s going to be something that’s gonna come out, um, a lot more aspirational than people are expecting. I, I think it’s good. I think it’ll be very good. And, and it’s been interesting because it’s been a collective of putting it together sure with that. Um, and then the other project that I have going on is, uh, there’s a group within the college that’s an initiative for community growth and development. The College of Design has typically had a fall conference that was on urban development. So, going almost all the way back to the beginning on, on how do you develop spaces in this case, though? Um, they’re looking at community, which is not just about how you develop a space and what buildings go there, but it’s also about how do you make sure that the people that are within that space are supported? What is their well-being? 

Jennifer Peavey (30:43):

So, it’s things like, are there grocery stores? And I don’t know if you know, for those that know downtown Raleigh, we finally have Publix downtown. That’s just happened a couple years ago. There were no grocery stores in downtown, you know, and if they’re really pushing this walkability and all of this type of stuff, if you, you have no ability to get the basic needs, where do people work in these communities is, or are they having to drive an hour to get somewhere, to be able to work? Um, what is the affordability of it? What is the recreation, you know, making sure that all the elements of life are part of a community, not just where people live, where people work type of thing. So, that’s what the initiative is about, and the fall conference is bringing a number of people to discuss this. 

Jennifer Peavey (31:26):

And, um, specifically, on Friday, it will be, or Thursday, it will be, um, focusing on south Raleigh and the idea of place-making. And so, there are five different neighborhoods. It starts with Centennial Campus. It then goes through Dix Park, then there’s a greenway that would be passing under Saunders Street. And then we have Chavis Park, and then we have Shaw University and saying, here are the five neighborhoods, and talk about how all of this is going to be interconnected within the idea of community development and what are the, what are the necessary elements of community development? And I think it’s gonna be an amazing conference and there are gonna be some panels. We’ll be talking about climate, um, talking about transportation because, as we develop, how do we deal with, uh, getting people around and then having a number of town halls, um, being able to see, um, different topics, but how people are responding, what are people going through within their communities? Um, or, or what issues are they seeing? 

Taylor Pardue (32:22):

Not just tell them how to do it, but here. Really make sure it’s applied, too.  

Jennifer Peavey (32:24):

Yeah. Or, or have a discussion on, on what are the elements of, of a good community what’s going to, um, hopefully come out of that is not only starting this discussion and having people, um, interact, but we’re also looking at what kinds of projects could be supported or, or what kinds of projects need to happen within that space. So, for example, right now, I, there’s not a greenway that connects in the middle of these neighborhoods. What needs to be along that greenway? I know there’s, there have been some events in Raleigh where they have actually had a pop-up event where they had, um, artists and food vendors, all like a little festival along a space where they said, this is what we envision is there would be this walk-through here, but how do you actually then decide to put that in the space? So, hopefully, there will also be this listing of service projects, which could tie then back into the 75th. It’s allowing the College of Design to then serve and then also get out into the community where people will notice. It’s not just something that’s happening here at the university, which we will have projects at the university, but then we’re going out in the community and making an impact. 

Taylor Pardue (33:35):

It’s great to see the college and NC State as a whole, not just driving this kind of, of innovation worldwide, nationwide, but really, as a land-grant university, seeing the effects of it right here at home. Not just in North Carolina, but even in Raleigh, too. Just to really see how the university impacts people’s lives in such a great way. 

Jennifer Peavey (33:51):

Yeah. And then the nice thing with the college is, um, we’re gonna have academics who will document this, and it will be something that we can talk about at conferences and, and disseminate this and let this be a case study that shows a good way of doing it or the best way of doing it. And so, I think that’s, that’s the nice thing of having these multiple entities, ’cause that’s really where the problem is of this paradigm shift. We’ve talked about that. We need interdisciplinary, but I don’t know that may be the bridge over to NGOs and the government and social entities. We talk about that we need to do this, but then how do you collaborate? And there is a shift, um, the college now talks about rather than necessarily doing projects for a community. It’s now about how do we support the community and what they want and what they have decided. And so, we go in as servant-leadership, so to speak, as opposed to coming in and saying, “This is what we’re gonna do.” So I, I think it’s very interesting kind of part of what the transition is. 

Taylor Pardue (34:54):

I always try to ask people this, what is your favorite part about NC State — or favorite parts? Maybe make it a little easier. 

Jennifer Peavey (35:01):

So, it is nice. I do, I live two blocks from NC State, and I do thoroughly enjoy the campus environment. I love walking across the Court of North Carolina, um, to get over to the college. It, you know, it’s not something from my younger days, but it does just feel amazing. There is something about the, um, the atmosphere, the autonomy, the interaction with all sorts of different kinds of people. I do thoroughly enjoy working with the students and interacting with them. And I don’t know how many times I leave and go and tell friends about how excited I am about Gen Z. They are some amazing people, and um, I think people need to come and meet Gen Z as often as they can. They’re, they’re, they’re thought-provoking. They’re looking at the world a little bit differently. I like to say, you know, we as Gen X, we were all analog, and then the Millennials are all digital. Well, Gen Z’s gonna figure out how to make the two go together. And I think they really look at how there is a meaning to life, as opposed to just how we’re gonna document it and, and how we’re gonna interact with it. And they, they crave almost to swing back, you know, uh, being able to make connections between people. And so it, I, I enjoy working with them a great deal. 

Taylor Pardue (36:25):

For listeners who want to learn more about your work, uh, where can they go, uh, on the web or on social media? 

Jennifer Peavey (36:30):

Sure. Um, I have the website, so it’s Um, they can certainly go there. My social media handle is @jennifer.theblacklab. So, you’re welcome to follow me there. Um, a lot of that is not so much my freelancing, but, um, when I was going through that time of figuring out what I was doing, I actually ended up writing a book. Um, that’s out there. So, I’m, but what I end up posting is a lot about how I am processing and how I’m managing my projects. So, that might be of interest. So, um, anyway, yeah, I’d be glad. And I, and it’s, it’s a lot of it is trying to start a discussion so people wanna follow and you wanna reach out and say, “What do you mean by this?” I’d be more than happy to, to get into that.

Taylor Pardue (37:10):

Sounds great. Thank you so much, Jennifer, for your time and just for everything that you’re doing for NC State as an employee, and then now as a planned-gift giver. Uh, it just, it makes an incredible difference.

Jennifer Peavey (37:19):

Thank you, Taylor. It was great to be here.

Taylor Pardue (37:26):

For more information on the Office of Planned Giving and how you, too, can make a lasting mark on the Pack, please visit today. If you’d like to hear even more stories of Wolfpack success, please subscribe to the NC State Philanthropy Podcast today in the Apple or Google podcast stores, on Spotify or through Stitcher. Be sure to leave us a comment and rating as well to let us know how we’re doing. Thanks for listening, and as always, go Pack.