Monthly Archives: June 2011

WNY Women’s Fund- a Place to Call Home

The winds of change are ‘a blowing’ in my life. Two posts ago I eluded to some changes in my life that where coming. Since the official press release has gone out I can talk about it via my blog and share it with my readers (which are my friends and family, let’s be real :-)) As of July 11th, I will be the new Executive Director of the WNY Women’s Fund. Words can’t express my excitement for this new opportunity in my life and career.

Currently, I have an amazing job as the lead fundraiser for the largest humanitarian organization in the world in Buffalo, NY. An honor that not many people can say they have had. I have been with the Greater Buffalo Chapter of the American Red Cross for two years. I have grown, my team has grown, we have raised over $4 million dollars in that time and made an incredible impact. I am proud of our work and legacy.

Then one day a posting came out for the Executive Director of the WNY Women’s Fund. Now, anyone who really knows me knows I have 3 passions when it comes to what really makes my soul sing at work 1) women and women’s causes 2) philanthropy 3) Western New York. I threw my hat in the ring. The Fund and it’s leadership have done some remarkable, and notable, things so to be a part of this movement would be an honor.

Long story short, I got the job. I really can’t express what that feels like. I am just some fun loving, passionate, talkative, driven and happy woman who has now landed the job of her dreams doing what she loves the most- raising money, putting it to work for women and girls, in the region that I love. How does this happen to me? Me? Heather, from Tonawanda?!

And I can tell you how. I stayed true to me. My path is a wacky one- it stretches from sales and marketing to selling postage meters, from Washington, DC to Buffalo, from an Assistant grabbing coffee and making flight registrations to making ice cream cones at Carvel ice cream. Every step of the way, every lesson that was learned, I stayed true to me. And when it wasn’t true to me, I felt it and listened to it. It was like a mega phone in my ear and I would listen, shift and change. When I felt like I was putting my pants on a different way, each and every day, I knew it wasn’t right. And along the way, I have worked my ass off. (Well, maybe not completely off. I am still aiming to lose those last 20 pounds.) From hard work comes great rewards. My Dad and Mom taught me, work hard, don’t quit and “never count on a man for money, make the money yourself.”  True quote.

Leaving my current job for a new job is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I work with amazing people, we do incredible work and I am better for having been a part of their family. Yet, this next step is right for me and I am humbled and honored. A dear friend of mine said to me last night, “I look forward to watching you change the lives of women and girls in WNY. You will make them better. I truly believe that.” I can honestly say, that was one of the most inspiring things someone has ever said to me.

So yes, my blog is about being healthy and changing my life. This job change is a major component of that plan. It will be hard work, really hard work, it will be tough but I’m up to the challenge. I have some big, amazing, inspiring , classy and fabulous shoes to fill but I’m honored for the opportunity.

I would like to invite you to join me next Wednesday, June 29th at the “What She’s Made Of” event which is the signature event for the WNY Women’s Fund. It’s a fundraiser, a friend event and the kick off to my tenure as the Executive Director. I’m looking forward to hearing from Jennifer Buffett and how she is impacting the lives of women and girls through the Novo Foundation. I would welcome the sight of friendly faces and new faces, in the audience of 600 from the stage that evening. It will be a special inspirational night for everyone.

As always, I try and always leave you with a thought for YOU to ponder. I ask you, is your job making your soul sing? Do you dread your Monday or race into it? At the end of the day do you feel happy for what you have accomplished? If you say no, then what are you going to do about it? It may not be about an MBA, or maybe it does. It may not be about a job or career change, or maybe it does. All I know is for each day you are not reaching your full passion and potential through your gifts that you share, is a day that you aren’t being true to yourself. The best days for you and others are when you are your BEST you. Believe it, be it.

Listen to your internal mega phone. And then work your ass of. Don’t be mediocre. Be a part of the ‘A’ team.



We’ve Got This

The title of this post is exactly what I said to my friend Colleen when we were in sight of the orange cones at the finish line last night when we completed our 5K together. But let’s rewind shall we…..

On New Year’s eve my husband and I have a tradition. We create our goals for the year, write them down and then share them over a nice meal at home, just the two of us. I will share in a future post my complete belief in writing goals down. It has been a magical year thus far. Anyways, one of my goals was “Sign up for a 5K and complete it. Just do it.” And the seed was planted.

Fast forward a few months and some weight loss later I start thinking I can do this. I am witnessing my husband train for a marathon and it’s quite inspiring. So I decide I’m going to start this running thing. Its a slow start. My heart rate won’t stay down, I struggle and walk more than I run. Then I start improving. I ask my dear friend Colleen if maybe she will run with me seeing since our hubby’s are running partners and we are on the same running path. She agrees. Now I have a witness. Shit, what have I gotten myself into.

I will admit, I waited a long time to sign up. I was scared. You can relive why I’m scared of 5K’s here. After I wrote that post a dear friend of mine posted a comment on my Facebook wall. She said “What is causing the fear? What are you telling yourself?” THAT got me thinking. Just like every other human being on the planet I am very negative in my head. But it hits a peak with anything related to athletics. I am not an athlete. I never was. I wasn’t picked last in gym class, but I also wasn’t picked first. I tried hard but wasn’t great. I was a dancer, not a sports player. Therefore, my whole life in my head I have never been confident when it comes to sports and fitness and at the age of 34 it was no different. Think about it- what have you told yourself in your head? How do you berate your actions? We do a serious disservice to ourselves.

So it’s 5K night. I’m hot. It’s a little unorganized. I’m trying to focus and but not be too focused. The gun goes off early by 5 minutes. Um, what? And we are off. Colleen and I had agreed we would stick it out together and we were in it to finish it. I didn’t care what my time was, I just wanted to do my best. And this 5K is the Girls on the Run event where kids have trained and they run a 5K with their runner coaches. It was great to run next to these young ladies and their amazing coaches. (and some really harsh parenting as well. Berate your kids much? Wowzer. I even found it demoralizing and I’m an adult. Ease up parents, ease up.)

My heartrate is high. Colleen’s talking to me, I’ve got this razor focus as I”m trying to breathe and keep running. I wanted to run for as much of it as I could. That was my personal internal goal. We did great. It had some tough spots. There is a hill in Delaware Park that doesn’t seem to want to end. We walked a bit at the top of that puppy. Getting towards the end I didn’t have alot of gas left in the tank. I was dragging. I wanted to walk but Colleen kept on going so I didn’t say anything and I”m glad I didn’t.  At one point as we rounded the bend to finish I had to tell myself out loud to “dig”. A couple times. And I did. It worked :-)

As I saw the cones I said those three words to Col and we passed the finish line together. My friends Kellie, Kara and Kerry were there cheering us in. I almost cried but then didn’t. I was just proud. Something I never thought I could do, I did and I enjoyed it.  You think you can’t accomplish something but you can. It all lies within us. I honestly believe that.

And on my bulletin board in my office hangs my number. 192. I wrote the date and time finished on the back so I wouldn’t forget. I know there will be more. I look forward to them actually. I will need them as I move on to the next goal of reaching my goal weight by the end of the year.

So ask yourself this today, what lies within you that you can uncover? What will it take to bring it out? Believe it, be it.

I conquered a fear this week and you can too.