A Day in the Life of a Nonprofit Professional

Posted by Maggie in on Tue 10/25/2016 11:27

Today we learn about a Day in the Life of Katie, GOTRSTL Board Member and nonprofit professional!

What do you do for a living?

I work for Wyman Center, Inc. - a St. Louis-based, national organization that works to develop and deploy our country's next generation of leaders. I lead a very talented team that both generates resources to support Wyman's mission and educates the public on the potential of our nation's youth.

What is your morning routine like?

I am typically up around 5:00AM, before my energetic 18-month old son Ethan is awake, to fit in my run or workout either alone or with friends. This time is really important to me, because it allows me to focus for the day and know I have done something to benefit my short and long term health! I'm back home by no later than 6:30, where my husband Ben and I chat briefly about the day before he leaves for work.Ethan wakes up right around that time, and then I get to spend about an hour with him having breakfast, reading books and playing (lately, with lots of trucks and "choo choos") before I shower and leave for work around 8:00. Then my work day begins.

What are you typically doing at 10am?

This varies from day to day. I can probably most often be found in a meeting with my team or with a community member telling them about Wyman's great work! This is a really generative time of day for me so I try to load up my morning hours with meetings and activities where big things can be accomplished.

What’s for lunch?

Usually some kind of a salad with protein to keep me going through the rest of the day.

Where would we find you at 3pm?

3pm is a bit of a "down" hour for me. I have learned that afternoons are where my attention span is running short, so I try to reserve the afternoon to catch up on emails and to conquer "must do" tasks that don't require a whole lot of my energy. I try to keep the afternoon hours quiet. It doesn't always work that way, but that's my goal.

What is the best part of what you do every day?

It's definitely my morning run, followed by the 1:1 time I get with Ethan every day.  I also really love our family dinners. Both Ben and I are home by 6 each night - we make a point of that - to have dinner together with Ethan before he goes to bed. I call those morning and dinner hours my "sacred" hours. My work is important and energizing, but nothing compares to that time I get to myself, with friends and with Ethan and Ben.

Girls on the Run Lesson 4 teaches the girls to respond to or catch negative self-talk with a noise or motion such as a buzzer or thumbs down. How do you keep yourself thinking positive throughout the day?

It all starts with that morning run, where I can really set goals and be really clear about what I need to accomplish in the span of that day. When I know where I am headed, I am always much more able to block negativity and stay focused on what matters throughout the day. I also get regular text messages with photos and videos of Ethan throughout the day from his amazing teacher/caregiver Kristina. Whenever I am feeling down or need to shift my thinking, a picture or video of him learning something new and exploring the world always puts me back on track. It is truly an amazing thing to discover the world through Ethan's eyes. It regularly reminds me to approach everything with a "beginners mind," without cynicism or negativity. That, in turn, keeps me productive and focused on making a difference - big and small.

How did you get involved with Girls on the Run?

GOTR has been on my radar for a lot of years, but I really became personally involved after going on a long run with my friend Wendie Cummings (an amazing St. Louis educator and GOTR coach!) Wendie asked me to come to practice and help out with the girls. I fell in love with the curriculum and really connected with it personally. Thank you, Wendie, for having the courage to ask me to join you!

Anything else you would like to share?

One of my favorite quotes right now is from Michelle Obama: "When they go low, we go high." This really resonates with me and it is my hope that it will resonate with women and girls around the globe. Women and girls are regularly bombarded with subtle (and not-so-subtle) expectations of what we should be and how we should act. It is all too easy to let it affect you, to let all of that noise make you think that you cannot accomplish great things and that you cannot be who you really are. It can also be tempting to become angry and negative in response. To me, "going high" means to live out your life in the face of others' expectations - and to do so with kindness and dignity. I believe that when every woman and girl does that, the entire human race will reach its full potential. And Girls on the Run empowers us to do just that.