Spotlight on Staff: Laira Magnusson
by Cheri Plavnick, Radical Generosity Committee
Of all First U’s non-clergy staff, Laira Magnusson, Director of Congregational Life, is undoubtedly the best known. She said, “my work entails the ‘people’ part of the church: Membership, Communications and Operations.”
Membership includes “guiding folks through the membership process by creating a welcoming campus, connecting people with groups and volunteer opportunities and developing leadership candidates.” Communications: the weekly Broadsheet, monthly Messenger, social media accounts, keeping our brochures updated and preparing the Annual Report which entails coordination of committee chairs and other church leaders so that we have annual documentation of all church committees and programs. Operations: working with the board and committees on their roles and supervising the church administrator.
Laira joined First U staff as our church administrator in 2015, then became Communications Coordinator, subsequently adding Director of Membership to her portfolio before assuming the title of Director of Congregational Life. What she loves most about her role is “planning and pulling off our big multi-generational events like the Volunteer Fair, All Church BBQ, Easter and Halloween parties, etc.”
She successfully juggles many balls at the same time and her personality conveys to new visitors and long-time members that everyone at First U who wants to be involved is welcome and important! What she most loves about being on staff at First U is that her colleagues share her commitment to making our church community a place that lives its values.
Laira and her wife Iris have three children ranging in age from almost 10 to almost 16. When asked how she manages the demands of a full-time job and a still growing family, Laira replied, “It’s a huge challenge but I’m getting better at prioritizing myself as my kids get older and I get older too!”