September 28, 2018

POV: My Why!

I still feel like I am on this amazing high from our conference. I want to thank each of you who contributed as either an exhibitor, a sponsor, a member of the conference committee or a participant. What an amazing showcase of passion, talent, and comradery.


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As I was buzzing about the day, I saw so many connections being made and heard many thoughtful conversations start. I also was the wonderful recipient of many accolades of the day. Everyone was impressed with our keynote speaker, Andy Goodman, the various presenters, and the expo hall. I could not have been more pleased with how the day went. My hope is that you all felt it was as fulfilling as I did and I also hope that the day was an inspiration to think more in depth about your ‘Why’.

Today I want to share with you ‘My Why’ – the reason I do what I do, my ethos, if you will. From the time I was a young girl I had been exposed to community and volunteering. My sister and I were the children at the back of the room waiting patiently (maybe that’s a stretch) for our mom to finish her meetings. At the time she was a volunteer board member of Salt Lake Neighborhood Housing Services (now NeighborWorks Salt Lake, a proud UNA member!) and as a community development and revitalization organization we did a lot of projects in the community. Most notably was Paint Your Heart Out (PYHO). Still active today, PYHO is a program to paint the homes of community members who are low income or are seniors. I am sure it would be delightful to show pictures of young Kate but for this, I will instead show the sign that was made and hung at the location of a PYHO house of my past. We painted many homes as a family over the years. I remember the stress leading up to the event – coordinating the volunteers, making sure the house was prepped and ready for the big paint day and I remember watching both my parents handle this stress and these tasks in stride. They never complained nor did they wish they were doing something else. When it came to the big paint day we, as young children, were given brushes and paint and were instructed which portion of the house we could paint. My dad always laughs when he tells this story: The son of the family whose house we were painting, looked with horror, and asked my dad if they were really going to allow us to paint his parent’s house. My dad just looked at him and said, “Sure. We’re here. They’re here, why not? Every so often we follow them and do touch up so don’t worry.”

I share this because I believe it’s emblematic of why I am involved and why I continue to have volunteering and service be part of my daily life. Service happens to be something that was embedded in our values as a family. Now that I have dedicated my career to the nonprofit sector I don’t feel as though I have sacrificed income or balance. Instead I feel enriched and valued. I feel like I am part of a movement of people who are working as diligently as I am in our own various ways. As UNA’s CEO sure there are times when my job is heavily administrative and I don’t feel as connected to the daily operations of all the nonprofits we serve but I never let it worry me. It never worries me because I know that only a short period of time will pass when I am reminded of ‘My Why’. I presently serve my community in a variety of ways and although it takes a lot of time and some amazing calendaring skills I, like parents, take it in stride. I volunteer because I can. I volunteer because it’s important. And mostly I volunteer because hopefully it will inspire someone. ‘My Why’ has roots that go deep and will forever be part of my values!