The Christi Center
- Number of Years as Executive Director
What does your organization do?
The Christi Center provides grief support groups for people of all ages. We help ensure that people continue to reach their full potential after a loss. In a macro context, we are working to make sure that everyone has access to healthy coping techniques after a loss, and recognize that we need to shift the way our culture responds to death and dying. To help achieve that goal, we offer trainings that builds our community's capacity to support each other.
How did you become interested in this work?
My educational background is in cultural anthropology. I have always been interested in what makes us as humans connect.
What drives your passion?
Grief is something we all will have to cope with--it’s part of what makes us human. I have seen the hope that comes from the simple act of sharing one’s stories. People turn to us when they don’t know how or when they will feel better. By sharing their story in a space where others lean in to hear rather than tune out because it’s uncomfortable, they gradually see what a fulfilled life can look like after loss.
Did you have a mentor or a role model?
I’m a huge proponent to having mentors and a peer support group! I have benefitted from having several mentors. One was the previous ED of The Christi Center, Cara Fox, who was a big champion of me and encouraged me to take the ED role when it came time for her to leave. I am fortunate to have leadership coaching from two former board members, who I value very much—they are so skilled at helping me look at situations from another side of the glass. And my cohort of 15 students from my executive master's program are my support system—I have learned so much from their experiences!
What's the biggest challenge in your work?
One of the biggest challenges I face in work is the constant shift from needing to think big picture and details. I tend towards the big ideas and long range goals. I can buckle down and figure out the how—but because it’s not innate to me—it takes time and focus. One of the biggest things I have realized as ED is to NOT hire people just like you—you need a full complement of skills on your team to succeed!
What's the best advice that you have ever received?
"To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”—Brene Brown
What are your top tips for new Executive Directors?
Really it’s just one tip: Be Curious. Ask people what motivates them, how they got involved with your work, why they think what they think.