Talk to us about life before retirement and ESC. What fueled your purpose and passion?
I loved working with nonprofits and witnessing the positive impact they have made in our region. During my career I experienced working with and serving on many types of boards. When I retired as executive director of FISA Foundation in 2010, I realized that, as a grantmaker and former fundraiser, I was a “nonprofit management generalist” but with deep experience with boards. Each organization and each board has a unique culture, requiring flexibility when interacting with them. What do they say, “When you’ve seen one board, you’ve seen one board!” Giving back through the Bayer and Covestro Centers was a logical step for me.
How did you find ESC? What made you want to get involved?
Since 2011, the Bayer Center has researched local wage inequity issues within nonprofit organizations. Their initial report pointed out that, even though women at that time made up 74% of the workforce, they only earned 74% of the dollar earned by male counterparts. While attending the inaugural 74% Project event, current Covestro Center Associate Director Yvonne Van Haitsma asked me if I would be willing to consider volunteering for ESC.
What is one of your most memorable volunteer experiences?
I have enjoyed facilitating 14 BoardsWork! retreats, working on consulting projects, facilitating brainstorming sessions, and serving as an executive coach. It has been a wonderful way to keep engaged with the nonprofit community as a volunteer. One memorable experience was facilitating a board retreat for the Midwife Center on a Saturday morning in January amidst a huge snowstorm. The board members were so dedicated that they decided not to cancel the retreat, even though the roads weren’t plowed yet. Demonstrating true dedication, every board member attended.
This season for the Bayer and Covestro Centers (and, really, the rest of the world) is all about resilience. What do you think it means to be resilient, here and now?
During the pandemic I have facilitated separate Zoom brainstorming sessions for nonprofit executive directors and board chairs. Both groups exhibited resilience par excellence, progressing from initial stress when the lockdown occurred to amazing creativity through partnerships and new ways of fundraising, to a fresh outlook for the future. They were fine examples of what it means to be resilient in today’s world.
How are you spending your summer? What memories are you creating?
I enjoy lap swimming, walking with friends, enjoying nature and reading. This was a special year because my husband and I marked our 50th wedding anniversary in May by celebrating with fun family visits, a trip to Santa Fe and dinners with friends.