What drew you to a career in nonprofit?
That’s all I have known for my entire professional career. I have a passion for helping people. When I was in college, I started a toy drive because I believed it was wrong for a kid not to have a toy on Christmas. The toy drive started really small, but by the end of my senior year, we were providing 180 families in one county with a Christmas. We had it to where each family got a trash bag for each kid, and they could fill it up with toys. When parents were ‘shopping’ for kids, we threw a Christmas party in an adjacent room for the kids to enjoy. …. At that point in my life, I was like, ‘This is what I want to do forever.’ I wanted to make sure people who didn’t have what they needed ended up in the right spot. That’s what I’ve used my education for.
What is your impression of Wichita?
This is starting to become a very inclusive city. One thing I really like that I see, and I have traveled a lot in my previous roles, is it seems like there is a sense here that I don’t have to agree with you or be on the same page as you, but I’ll respect you. The community is very passionate about making sure its people are in the right places and doing the right things. That’s exciting to live in a city like that.
What attracted you to this opportunity?
All the fun I had at United Way in Topeka. I had the opportunity to be part of some amazing, transformational work in Topeka, some real transformational opportunities. I made friendships that will last a lifetime. When Pete presented me this opportunity, and I heard his vision for what he wanted to do here, I said, ‘We can make this happen.’ I think he’s forward thinking and very passionate about the community. I believe when you combine that with the talent we have on staff and the fact that I am committed to being the hardest worker in the room, I think we are going to do amazing things for this city. I checked United Way of the Plains out on social media and saw a social media post that said #peoplehelpingpeople, and I said, ‘That’s what it’s all about.’