As an interim professional, taking on a new role can be daunting, especially when faced with uncertainty of relocating or embarking on a new career path. However, as I recently discovered in my role as the Interim Relationship Development Director at United Way of the Cape Fear Area, sometimes it’s the unexpected opportunities that can lead to the most rewarding experiences.
Before I accepted the role as Relationship Development Director at United Way of the Cape Fear Area (UWCFA) I had to share with UWCFA CEO, Tommy Taylor that my husband Brett and I had decided to relocate to the Blue Ridge Mountains to be closer to family. However, the logistics of the move had not yet been planned out and we didn’t know when all of this was going to occur or how much longer we would be in Wilmington. We were in the process of looking for a home and figuring out careers. Initially, it seemed to be a really bad time to leave my career in the utility industry to start a new one, especially when I didn’t know how long I would be in the position or have a plan for after we moved. But I decided, starting this new role, for however long I would be in Wilmington, was the right decision.
Six months later, I am saying goodbye to an amazing team so my family can begin our next chapter in the mountains. As I pack up my office trying to wrap up any lose ends (including this Insight) and soaking up as many smiles and laughs as I can, intentionally lingering because I will miss this team. I know I made the right decision. Here are a few take aways I will be carrying with me on my journey.
1. UWCFA works with our community to leverage resources and improve the lives of local people. I have worn many hats at UWCFA. Before my time on staff, I served on the Board of Directors for six years, planned multiple workplace campaigns, and volunteered in several capacities. I am passionate about the mission and experienced firsthand the positive impact UWCFA has in our community.
2. I believe in the vision of a united community where all people are healthy safe and prosperous. Like many, I grew up facing adversity. Luckily, I had a solid support system and loving family that taught me integrity and a strong work ethic to overcome obstacles. My upbringing instilled a passion to help my community and empower others to make a positive impact. Through my years of engagement, I saw how the programs funded by UWCFA reflected many of the programs my family utilized growing up. This vision I want to take with me wherever I go.
3. I value Accountability, Compassion, Expertise, Integrity, Respect, & Transparency. My time at UWCFA has been a windy road but a road worth traveling. United Ways all over the nation are learning to adapt to a new way of fundraising as technology is changing the way workplace campaigns are run and new generations are giving in different ways. Although, there may be bumps in the road this team and organization are resilient. Pushing through and keeping these values top of mind. I have witnessed the team’s commitment to the organization’s core values. Adapting to changing technology and giving trends has not been without its challenges, but UWCFA remains resilient and dedicated to upholding these important values. Including the bumps in the road, I am proud to have been a part of such a strong and determined team.
As my family prepares to embark on our next adventure, I am filled with gratitude for this incredible experience. Although I was uncertain at first, I ultimately found that taking on this role was the perfect decision for me and my family during a time of transition. As I sign off systems and pack my laptop, I hope to encourage you to consider taking your own professional risks, especially when the opportunity closely aligns with your personal values or opens your eyes to new experiences.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to learn firsthand the value of UWCFA. Get involved, volunteer, and meet the amazing team that is working tirelessly to improve the lives of people in our community. You never know where a new opportunity might take you, but taking that leap can lead to one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
Audrey Elsberry - Sep 22, 2023
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