3 Rivers Community Foundation
Number of employees you oversee: 1
Brief background of your organization:
Our mission is to create opportunities for perpetual charitable giving in Benton and Franklin co-unites to support nonprofits now, and in the future. We work with charitably minded community members to support nonprofits by pooling funds together in an endowment that is carefully invested to grow.
We offer a wide array of donor services including perpetual giving, one-time gifts of stock or RMDs, scholarship funds, and more.
How did you land your current role? How long have you been in it?
I was ready for a new challenge in the nonprofit world and was lucky enough to find the job posting. I knew immediately when I met the board members that I wanted to jump in. I’ve been in this role for almost three years.
Why should the Tri-Cities care about philanthropy?
The beautiful thing about philanthropy is that by its function it joins donors together to create a more powerful impact.
Philanthropy doesn’t just mean multimillion dollar giving. It really comes down to a desire to create a legacy with a gift that is meaningful to you.
As a community foundation, we are here to make sure that your gift lasts and supports our community year after year. Our endowment joins all these legacies together, and our annual giving supports much needed causes right here in Benton and Franklin counties.
What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
Leaders need to make sure the people around them feel seen. This can show up in how you listen, how you respond, and taking the time to see the human in front of you.
What is the biggest challenge facing business owners/managers today?
I think working with people across generations/age groups is incredibly interesting and a challenge in a positive sense. These differences impact how we come to the table, and by remaining open to other people’s experiences we can learn and challenge our own perspective.
If you had a magic wand, what would you change about your field?
I’d demystify philanthropy and endowments. We try very hard to communicate that it all comes down to being locally connected and donor directed. Donors come in with a cause or idea that is close to their heart, and we have a variety of tools to meet their goals.
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Be cautious in how much you take on at one time. If you’re logistically overwhelmed, you don’t perform well, and you’ll likely miss details as you’re trying to keep up. Give yourself time and room to think and plan.
Who are your role models or mentors?
So many of the women I’ve worked with are role models for me, I borrow from them in many ways. I have watched, learned from, and leaned on strong women and their guidance and support has helped me become who I am today.
How do you keep your team motivated?
Our work by its nature is very uplifting, especially when we are giving out grants, so motivation is easy to find. But I also try to make it fun and make sure employees and volunteers feel appreciated in lots of little ways, whether it be little notes, small gifts, and especially saying thank you.
How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today?
I was always drawn to the nonprofit world. I knew I needed work that was personally and professionally fulfilling and running the Community Foundation checks those boxes and more.
How do you measure success in your workplace?
Success can be difficult to measure because there will always be community needs that need support.
We do focus on statistics and have seen our grantmaking dollars triple in the last few years thanks to generous community donors. However, there is nothing like contacting a nonprofit to let them know they will be receiving a grant. Every grant is a success to me.
What do you consider your leadership style to be?
I’ve always thought it important to lead by example, and to not ask someone else to do something you wouldn’t do.
How do you balance work and family life?
It’s a busy life! My husband and I carefully coordinate our schedules and our son’s activities, and I really try to recharge on weekends. I’m not the best at unplugging when I’m off the clock, but I’m working on it.
What do you like to do when you are not at work?
I exercise nearly every day and read every day. Nothing beats playing frisbee or Uno with my son and husband. I also enjoy visiting our local wineries. We are so lucky to have this premium industry in our backyard!
What’s your best time management strategy?
I do a loose version of a bullet journal which puts my personal and professional schedule and to-do’s all in one place and makes it easy to see what to work on next.
Best tip to relieve stress?
It’s important to have a variety of tools to manage stress. For me that includes exercise, watching crappy TV, or a hot cup of tea.
Two of my favorite books at the moment are “Daisy Jones and the Six,” by Taylor Jenkins Reid and “Prodigal Summer,” by Barbara Kingsolver.
Do you have a personal mantra, phrase or quote you like to use?
Be curious! (Shamelessly borrowed from Ted Lasso.)
So many conflicts arise because people aren’t truly listening and aren’t entering the conversation with curiosity.