After graduating, Bee Nance, Chief Operating Officer at Generation Teach enjoyed accounting but longed to find a job that allowed her to create that sense of community and belonging for others. She taught accounting part-time at a local community college, earned her CPA, and joined Generation Teach. Generation Teach is a nonprofit committed to co-creating loving communities where generations of students, teachers, and leaders learn, grow, and develop. “Generation Teach was exactly what I was looking for,” Bee says. “It combines my skills in accounting with my love of community. For me it’s not just a job to make money but a way to bring people together to learn, grow, and develop.”
Bee was excited to bring her passion for accounting and her love of community to the organization. She quickly realized the current system of sending scholarship funds to summer teaching fellows was making the summer more stressful for them and her.
When Bee stepped into the position, Generation Teach used an outside, paper check-based service to fund scholarships for teaching fellows each summer. Bee explains the problem: “Three sets of paper checks for our 180 teaching fellows were mailed to me at my house. I spent hours and days shuffling through them all, getting them organized, and then mailing them to the city directors. There I was with 540 checks spread out across my small desk, wishing I were part of the GT community, instead of tied to my office.”
Even after the scholarship checks were sent, Bee spent additional time tracking down teaching fellows who missed the bank-imposed deadline to cash their checks. This process was challenging for her and the teaching fellows – undergraduate and high school students who were managing their first teaching experiences and their personal finances.
Bee decided to find a better way to use her accounting skills and support the GT community, which led her to BILL and the untapped functionality available to her. “One of my first projects after coming on board was to apply BILL to solve this paper problem for me. We converted all of our teaching fellows and vendors to being paid electronically through BILL.”
“Generation Teach combines my skills in accounting with my love of community. For me it's not just a job to make money but a way to bring people together to learn, grow, and develop.” — Bee Nance, COO, Generation Teach
She adds, “Being able to upload payables and have our manager review and approve payments in one system is super helpful. I have greater visibility into exactly where we stand from a cash flow perspective. And it also takes a lot of burden off of us during audits.”
Bee not only ended the paper mess in her house, she transferred funds instantaneously to a group that has grown to include more than 230 teaching fellows. “Now, we pay everybody in a matter of minutes. I can even process payments when I’m out in the field. That frees me up to be part of our community in person. It’s been a game changer for me.”
In fact, now when faced with an accounting challenge, Bee’s new favorite question is always, “Is there a BILL for that?”
Bee now has time to build community at Generation Teach sites around the country. She is a warm, welcoming face to students having first-day jitters, to teaching fellows teaching full-time for the first time, and to professional teachers who appreciate her warmth and care. “We set the tone, the culture, and a sense of belonging,” Bee points out. “For my part, when I’m with our students, teaching fellows, professional teachers, and families, they can see me as a person of color, someone who looks like them, and they can feel comfortable.” Bee is helping to create the sense of community she missed in middle school, found at North Carolina A&T, and now spreads across the country.
“Now, we pay everybody in a matter of minutes. I can even process payments when I'm out in the field. That frees me up to be part of our community in person. It's been a game changer for me.” — Bee Nance, COO, Generation Teach
Life lessons start young growing up on a farm in rural North Carolina. For Bee Nance, the farm was where she was home-schooled and first learned the value of education from her teacher—her mother.
However, when Bee went off to public middle school, the close-knit community of friends and family she knew on the farm was replaced by strangers in her new school. It was a difficult transition because she didn’t know anyone and it wasn’t easy for her to make new friends. So Bee focused on academics, developing a strong aptitude for math and advancing on to earn her degree in accounting from North Carolina A&T State University, a historically black university.
Bee recalls, “That experience at A&T was especially important for me. “It was the first time I was in the majority. It helped me get in touch with my culture and history.”