I've poured over books and attended classes. I've researched online and asked local experts. I've given my heart to this organization. I work evenings and I work weekends. While I set the goal every year to leave work at home on a more frequent basis, I've only just this month accomplished it with any more frequency than one time in a month. Lately, I've taken it down to once a week that I'm actually working in the evenings, besides the normal email checking I usually do.
When I started doing this, I didn't consider myself a Nonprofit Executive. I was a teacher that didn't have a classroom, choosing to start this nonprofit. I didn't actually think I would love it as much as I do, and I anticipated starting back to a classroom position shortly. Even after my first year as an employee of Heroes for Children, I still considered myself an educator doing this job for the time being. Now? I'm a Nonprofit Executive that used to teach. It's been a complete shift in my identity.
This summer, I went through a fairly decent amount of burnout. By the end of our Spring fundraising season, I felt spent. And so I took some time off to evaulate. I worked less hours, took every days off to visit with family, and evaluated my future. I never thought I would leave HFC, but I wanted to be sure I was on the right path. I needed to know that my heart was in it 100% as it was before because otherwise, I knew it would be harder and harder to keep up with the work.
I'm very pleased that I came to the conclusion that I am EXACTLY where I need to be. I just need to find balance. In the past four years, Heroes for Children has been one of the biggest driving forces of my life. It remains a large part of me, but I am working my hardest at finding that balance. To be mom AND the Executive Director of Heroes for Children. It's a fine balance, and I can't tell you I've perfected that balance yet.
I average about sixty to sixty-five hours a week working. Most days, I drop Maggie off and I am the one picking up. I do at least 75% of our weeks drop-offs/pick-ups. I am involved in the school and with her teacher. It's hard, for sure. Being a working mom is tough. Being an executive for a growing nonprofit is challenging, especially when trying to remain mom at home. There are times when family dinner happens in my conference room before a board meeting. I don't have lunch out for leisure, only for business. Otherwise, it's a quick bite to eat at my desk while working.
I love the challenge of running a nonprofit. I love the ever changing climate and the constant work. There are so many facets to the organization--both internal and external. On any given day, I might be working on marketing, donor relations, event planning, program services such as working with the social workers, PR, and even HR. I wear so many hats most days! Seeing the tangible difference we make in the lives of cancer families inspires me each day. The mission drives me, and Allie's legacy propels me forward each day. It is my hope that Heroes for Children will be helping families for many years to come. I don't know what all our future will entail, but I look forward to being a part of the organization. I know this is where I am supposed to be. I'm no longer the educator I once was.
I'm a Nonprofit Executive, and I'm very proud of it.