What an amazing journey this has been!! Just to give you a little bit of history I want to share with you what these last six months have been like. I first stepped onto the campus of New Directions for Women to experience what a women’s specific treatment program had to offer. You see, I worked for another treatment provider back on the East Coast for the last 26+ years. We were exploring the option of a women’s track within our residential program and our CEO said he knew exactly whom we could ask to help us understand what a woman’s program entails, and that was Becky Flood.
Becky arrived and immediately I felt a connection as we share many of the same philosophies. Following the consultation, my coworker and I were given the opportunity to come to California and experience an up close and personal view of New Directions.
From the moment I stepped on campus I had an emotional reaction that I cannot even begin to describe or put into words for you. The love, care, healing and compassion that is the thread of this organization wrapped me in a blanket of safety and warmth.
Once a month on Sunday, Becky selected several patients to participate in a Sunday afternoon “Cooking with Becky” experience. For those of you who may not know this about Becky, she is an incredible cook! The women were loving this experience beginning with the planning of the meal, shopping for the ingredients and the preparation for Sunday dinner. I joined in and the conversations were free, and easy and very heartfelt. From the homemade gnocchi, Alfredo sauce, pesto and marinara – nourishment of the soul began.
Over the next several days, we sat in on groups and meetings, and we left New Directions excited for the potential of a budding relationship the two organizations now had formed.
A few short months later, I received a phone call from Becky asking what I was doing. I was actually in LA attending an Employee Assistance Professional’s conference and strangely enough Becky was leaving for the East Coast the next morning. She asked when I would be back in town and if I would like to meet for coffee. Of course, I said yes! Our coffee meeting was light and friendly as our other interactions had been when out of the blue Becky asked if I would consider applying for the position of Executive Director for New Directions for Women. I think my jaw hit the table and she asked me if I was OK? She said I look like I was going to cry! I said I am not going to cry, I was just in shock. She smiled that warm friendly Becky smile, and said well why did you think I asked you for coffee? I responded in my innocent naïve way, I thought you liked me, and wanted to be my friend! We both laughed and she said I do like you!
I left that meeting and immediately called my husband and said to him you are never going to believe what just happened!
I shared the conversation with him and he immediately was excited about this opportunity as I was. The possibilities, the challenges, the weather – – who doesn’t like California in the winter??
Over the next two months, during the very thorough interview process, I met several staff and Board members who are some of the most kind, caring, compassionate, dedicated to the mission and very intelligent people that I know. Conversations were often direct and to the point, as they should be; however there was such a genuineness in each person that I met.
On December 5th I received a phone call from the Chair of the Operating Board, Ann Premazon. Ann asked if I would accept the position of Executive Director of NDFW. As with many milestones in one’s life I will always remember the day, December 5th, and where I was – I was about to give a presentation to a group of entrepreneurs; and the time – it was 6:45 pm Eastern Standard Time, and I was trying not to explode with excitement as I began my presentation to that group.
As some of you may be able to imagine leaving an organization that, you have considered being your family for 26 years was not an easy task, but the excitement of becoming part of this organization was so exciting to me that I still pinch myself on a regular basis to affirm that it is real! I landed in California on February 8 and engaged in a Board Retreat for the next two days that was full of energy, information, strategic planning, and excitement for what the future held for all of us.
I then experienced life as a patient for the next several weeks. Those too are several weeks that I will remember for quite a very long time! Some of those women that I met that first day are here with us this morning and the joy my heart feels to watch Recovery grow in each of them cannot be put into words. I thank each of them for their warm welcome, as well.
So speaking of the future, I am looking forward to forging many new relationships while continuing to foster those I have built over the 26 years in the treatment industry as well as increasing program services for the women that we serve, completion of the capital campaign and the building of our new Faith house which will hold 6 families and up to 40 children throughout the day for services, which is a personal passion of mine; the expansion of outpatient services and my most favorite challenge of negotiating with Insurance companies to pay for the services that our women need and deserve to treat the chronic illness that we share.
In closing I want to thank you again on behalf of our patients, our staff, our Board and myself for attending this morning’s event and opening your hearts to hear what New Directions for women has meant for our next three guests. I hope to have a chance to meet with every single one of you over the next few months, and find out how we can work together. Take your program booklet with you, and rip out the Save the Date page, and stick it on your fridge or your computer monitor. Read our Wishlist, find out how you can give of your Time, Talent, and Treasure, and schedule a time to come on a Circle of Life Tour to see our beautiful campus first-hand.
Thank you again, and as many have shared with me in these last couple of months our future is looking very bright!