I was 20 years old when I decided I was going to change the world, and that the place to do it was Washington, DC. Full of equal parts blissful naivete and the kind of deep angst characteristic of a true coming-of-age Empath, I packed my things and moved my LA-raised self 3,000 miles cross country to take a program development position with the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
My time in DC was brief in the grand scheme of things, but the people I worked alongside left deep impressions in my spirit. I don’t recall the work being easy or simple. Like most non-profit organizations, staff members wore many hats, worked long hours and had to bend to the demands of multiple constituencies. Chapter members, volunteer leadership, staff executives, politicians all with opinions and urgent needs to be met. I was young, impressionable, eager to learn and excel in a profession I didn’t know existed one year prior. Fortunately for me, the woman who led my team was dynamic, as outspoken and direct as she was nurturing and kind. She gracefully pushed me down my path to understanding who I wanted to be as a professional.
When I departed from the AAUW, my team threw me a beautiful, laughter-filled farewell party complete with a gift that still adorns my desk to this day. A small, wooden, hand-carved cheering section of my very own. Every time my eyes wander to my beloved sculpture I am reminded of my first professional support system, the path they started me on, the counsel and insight they extended to me and the deeply meaningful partnership we shared. My hope is to provide that same support and care to my clients…because everyone needs a cheering section.