Heather Alden

Heather Alden
  • Name
  • Heather Alden
  • Title
  • Managing Director
  • Organization
  • SIMS Foundation
  • Years as Executive Director
  • 1

  • What does your organization do?
  • The SIMS Foundation provides mental health and addiction recovery services to Austin musicians and their families.
  • How did you become interested in this work?
  • I became interested in nonprofit management after a career in technology. I worked at the RGK Center for Philanthropy & Community Service at the LBJ School and met many innovative, entrepreneurial nonprofit leaders who excited me about solving social problems with ingenuity and design. Seeing great leaders like Alan Graham of Mobile Loaves & Fishes embrace technology and out-of-the-box solutions started me on my path to becoming an Executive Director myself.
  • What drives your passion?
  • I think what drives my passion is having heart and soul in my work. I like thinking that at the end of the day, the activities I performed may lessen the burden for someone else in the world.
  • Did you have a mentor or role model?
  • I have 2 mentors that I meet with on a regular basis and inspiration from a host of incredible friends who live and create passionately.
  • What's the biggest challenge in your work?
  • The biggest challenge in my work is filtering all the great opportunities and ideas contributed to our organization into actionable plans that benefit our mission.
  • What's the best advice that you have ever received?
  • The best advice I have received can be summed up in this quote by Goethe,"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it." Just start. Don't get bogged down in if it is the best plan. Get moving and let it evolve in the process.
  • What are your top tips for new Executive Directors?
  • I'm a new ED myself, so I'll pass along the tips that have been most useful for me:

    - You can't do everything, so don't try to.

    - Hire people smarter than you.

    - Find interesting people who inspire you and make time to be with them.

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