- Please provide a brief description of yourself and your company.
I am the President and CEO of A-SPAN. Our mission is to help empower individuals from streets to stability. I was initially involved with A-SPAN in the late 90s, when I served as the President and CEO of Leadership Arlington. That’s where I met the Executive Director and Founder of A-SPAN, Lora Rinker. I served at the Leadership Center of Excellence for 20 years and was then President of the Virginia Hospital Center Foundation, before being appointed as President of A-SPAN in November of 2020.
- What led you to your profession?
What I value the most has always been service to the community. The nonprofit industry is the perfect setting to express this value. Service to others has been the foundation in all the roles I’ve had from developing leadership programs, serving the homeless, to serving on Boards that support the community.
- Who are the most influential women you know? How do they inspire you?
There are so many to choose from, but I would say that my two daughters and my daughter-in-law are the most inspiring people I know. Each one of them adds to my personal and professional growth on a regular basis. They inspire me because they are open minded, willing to learn and listen and they stand up for what they believe in — all of which are characteristics which I appreciate and value.
- What advice do you have for women who want to grow/begin their career in the nonprofit industry?
The nonprofit community is amazing! If you want to have a job that allows your heart to be deeply invested into the community and helping those who frequently cannot help themselves, then the nonprofit world is for you. My advice for all women in the workforce is, believe in yourself, take risks and live each day to the fullest.
- Please describe your involvement in the community.
I’ve been so fortunate to be deeply involved in the community, through service, organizations, and boards. I am currently serving on the Executive Committee of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. It is such a joy to be part of a visionary organization that always puts its members first. Throughout the pandemic, the Arlington Chamber has done an outstanding job supporting the business community by staying on top of all issues of concern.
- What’s one childhood lesson that you still practice to this day?
This is easy! My childhood school (St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, VA) had a motto that I have lived my life by: “What we keep, we lose and only what we give remains our own. “
- What are you most proud of in your career?
I’m most proud of the fact that I have supported and contributed to the development of over 1600 leaders in our community who went through one or several leadership programs through the Leadership Center. I continue every single day to see leaders who have been through that program making true change in our region. I am equally proud to have been supporting A-SPAN during the pandemic. We had to find innovative ways to make business decisions that would keep us stable in the pandemic while still maintaining the ability to care for clients. We were resilient during chaos, the shelter had to stay open 24/7, 365 days out of the year. We had to care for those who needed our services, we couldn’t just shut our doors down. Navigating the delicate balance of keeping staff, and their families safe, while still providing our services is a great challenge that we still live daily.
- You get to have dinner with one famous person. Who do you choose and what would you ask them?
I would have dinner with the Queen of England. She has seen so much history and change in the world. My one question to her would be, if she had to do it all over again, would she have done anything differently?
- How do you support, honor, and celebrate other women in the industry?
It’s very important for women to celebrate with other women the things we see in them that make a difference. Women are sometimes too quiet about shouting from the rooftop what they see in others. I love connecting women I admire with one another. When women come together, amazing things can happen!