I started working for Children Incorporated in February of 2003 as the Assistant Director of Appalachian Programs after having spent a dozen years working for another international child sponsorship organization.
Your desire to make the world a little better by giving of yourselves and of your resources is not to be taken lightly.
Then, in 2005, I oversaw the start of a new division offering assistance to urban and inner city schools, and for several years, I was the director of that work. When the Inner Cities and Appalachian Programs were consolidated into one United States Division a few years later, I served as Assistant Director for two additional years. Then, quite unexpectedly, in February of 2012, I received a call from the then-chairman of the Children Incorporated Board of Directors requesting that I meet with him to discuss an important topic. Over lunch a few days later, I was asked to become the new President and Chief Executive Officer of Children Incorporated.
I never aspired to become a CEO. It wasn’t something I had ever considered, and quite frankly, the offer scared me to death. I am introverted and somewhat a loner by nature, and here I was being asked to take over the leadership of an international child sponsorship organization. I was being asked to become the fourth President of Children Incorporated, following in the footsteps of Jeanne Clark Wood (1964-2004), Marian Cummins (2004-2010), and Marianne Vermeer (2011-2012). I was kind of in shock!
At the time, Children Incorporated was going through some challenges. The economic downturn of 2007 – 2008 had taken a significant toll on the finances of the company. I remember asking the board chair at the time why I was being asked to become CEO, and his response was that I had the heart to do the work required to get Children Incorporated back on track. I appreciated his confidence in me, but I felt ill-equipped to take on what appeared a huge task.
Ten years into my role as CEO, I can truly say that serving in this capacity has been one of the most significant experiences of my life. I have grown so much over these last ten years, and I have learned more about life and people and business practices than I ever dreamt possible. Working alongside the incredible staff of Children Incorporated, we were able to turn the organization around, and Children Incorporated has grown each year since 2012. Now in its 58th year, Children Incorporated continues to change lives and improve situations and circumstances for thousands upon thousands of young people each year.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to some very special people. First, I’d like to acknowledge our former board chair and long-time Children Incorporated sponsor, Mr. Dana McDaniel, for recognizing my potential back in 2012 and offering me the position as President and Chief Executive Officer. Also, I must mention Dana’s successor as board chair, the late Steve Holton. Steve always believed in me. He was a friend and an ally; he is truly missed. Additional thanks to our current Board chair, Liz Collins, for her undying support of both Children Incorporated and of me as an individual. Great applause goes to the staff of Children Incorporated – a small but mighty team of 15 who always go above and beyond to make sure that children and families are served.
And – in closing – please allow me to thank you, our sponsors and donors, who make all of our work possible. Your generosity and compassion is truly what it’s all about. Your desire to make the world a little better by giving of yourselves and of your resources is not to be taken lightly. Children Incorporated, as an organization, is thankful, and I, as an individual, am grateful. Because of you, I am one of the most blessed people on earth!
HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD WITH CHILDREN INCORPORATED?
You can sponsor a child with Children Incorporated in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow the link below.