All articles by tracyamurphy


Be Kind

Tom and I recently updated our wills. As part of this process, we reached out to the organizations we have designated and let them know that they are a beneficiaries. While they were grateful (& gracious), they also asked some really interesting questions. “Why us?” “What do you find as valuable about our services?” “Why


Manic Monday

I found myself with a bit of free time on Sunday, no kids, dogs were sleeping, husband was at the gym so I took advantage of it and wrote the most glorious blog post about Enders Game (by Orson Scott Card) and how its really an example of Growth Mindset (introduced by Carol Dweck). I


All Used Up

Last month I wrote about my mid blog crisis and asked for input on a way forward. I had so many kind, thoughtful and smart people reach out to me with their ideas and input. THANK YOU!   Overwhelmingly, the response was – keep writing you. Write what moves you. Write where are at. Don’t worry


Mid Blog Crisis

We’ve all heard of mid-live crisis’s, I’m in the middle of a mid blog crisis. When I started this website and blog, I was at the very beginning of a HUGE life change. I was consciously moving from a 26 year career in a corporate role into a brand new career in nonprofit. I knew


2019 Goals

I’m not one for big New Year resolutions mainly because of the hype, the pressure and the low rate of success. All things that I instinctively balk at. And, I like the thought that I can change at any time, I don’t need to wait for a New Year. However, moving from one year into another is a


Help! Recognizing, Asking and Giving Help…

I’ve been thinking a lot about help lately. Why do I have a hard time recognizing when I need help? Why its so hard to actually ask for help but also why do I love to help others. It seems contradictory doesn’t it? I want to help others but I don’t want help myself. I


The miracle of a year…A love letter to my team.

Recently my leadership team went to a 3 day leadership planning session “up north” in lake country.  The goal of our time together was to reflect on the last year and plan for the next year.  The bonus was that we’d get to spend time together connecting, sharing ideas and (hopefully) having fun.  I was


The Polarity Paradox

Over the last year, my team has been engaged in some pretty deep and intensive leadership training.  Our latest was Polarity Management. Polarity Management was developed by Barry Johnson in 1975 as an alternative to traditional problem solving approaches.  In essence (and as Bert Parlee explains) …. “The Polarity Management model and set of principles


Why we do what we do….

It’s that crazy time of year when the kids go back to school, Tom starts back to work full time and my whole schedule gets flipped on its head.  It also my busiest month of the year for work conferences and nonprofit board charity events.  I feel like I need to use every single minute


20 People Who Inspire Me

As I built and created this website, it has been an amazing reflection opportunity for me. Almost like a diary, it allows me to examine my life, my passions, my dreams, my learnings….  It forces me to reflect, learn and adjust course. However, I am not doing it alone. I have an awesome guide and


The Future Looks Bright!

Our future… These kids are our future and they are amazing! Given how much time I spend driving to/from Taekwondo practice as well as weekends away for tournaments, I spend a fair amount of time with these 3 kids. If they are even the slightest representation of future generations, I’m humbled and excited.   Let me break


Work – Another 4 letter word

Work gets a bad rap.  You hear it all the time … I hate my job, I can’t wait to retire, TGIF, I need a vacation, if only I didn’t have to work, if I won the lottery, I’d quit my job  … the list goes on and on. How did this happen?  If you


You ARE Traffic

I’ve been feeling stuck lately.  Not that I haven’t been busy and productive but … I’ve been feeling like I haven’t had time to reflect, learn from what I’m doing and relax into the moment.  It’s all aspects of my life; home, work, friends, family. I didn’t even realize I was stuck until I wrote


MORA work update

At MORA, staff, guardians and the people we support become family. We live and work together and experience the joys and loss that come with being in such loving, caring and close contact with each other.  This winter we are heartbroken to share that we lost two members of MORA’s family; Riley and Breanna. For


Word of the Year …

January at MORA is all about reconciling the last year and planning for the next year.  We reconcile our books, write reviews, plan our workload … you know, the same thing that everyone else does personally and professionally in January. This year, a few people have declared a ‘Word of the Year’ that they are


Know Thyself

A good friend and I were recently reflecting on the last year and they crazy amount of change and learning we both experienced. He (Jim Fellows) has been a key supporter, cheerleader, mentor and sounding board for me through this major career change and he said … “I just dont get it, you haven’t experienced


This I Believe

I wrote this for a leadership offsite in the style and manner of Jay Allison and Dan Gediman’s popular book…. This, or something better, for all involved. My mantra, my daily walking meditation, my north star, my saving grace, my morning prayer …. I must say this to myself a hundred times a day. As


“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” – Mark Twain

Praying about praying. Thinking about thinking. Meditating on meditating. Writing about writing. Seems counterproductive or an oxymoron but I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately on my writing and thought it might make a good blog (writing about writing). In part, it’s because I have been asked to write a LOT lately.  An opening


A pep talk and a Space Jam – A letter to my team….

I was at the local and national disability services conferences (ARRM and ANCOR) over the last two weeks and was overwhelmed by the work ahead of us in our sector.  We have staffing challenges, legislative changes, Medicaid is under attack, housing is sparse, transportation is lacking, our clients need us more than ever as they age…


Go Royals!

This week ushered in the 2017-2018 school year and with it came excitement, anxiety and some big changes in schedules. Jimmy started at Hopkins High School (10th grade), Billy started at North Jr High (7th grade) and Kay is now part of the ruling class (9th grade at North).  For the 1st time in 4


One month down….

Wow. Thats really all I can say as I think back over the last month in my new role at Mt Olivet Rolling Acres. So much has happened and no 2 days were the same. I have learned a ton and am just beginning to realize how much I really have to learn.  It energizing


Launching vs Landing

When you are in job search, the ultimate goal is to “land a job”. But, as I think about that, how dull.  Landing implies that you are “done”.  That you have a set path, are settling in and are stationary.  I am not good at ANY of those!!  I’ve decided to think about it differently


The Job Search and Growth Mindset

You might wonder why I have a photo my son at his Taekwondo tournament as the featured image on a blog about the job search and growth mindset…. Hang with me! During a particularly intense training session last month, his coach (Mr Lee) talked to the kids about growth mindset and how it impacts how


Spotlight Series #3 .. The Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery

Artist Greg Preslicka volunteered to paint murals on bedroom walls of the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery. One year ago I was voted on to The Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery board and I was thrilled!  We have been financial supporters and volunteers at The Nursery for over 8 years and have always been so impressed with


Introducing … Kristine Martin, President of Eastside Neighborhood Services and my 2nd blog interview

This is my sophomore blog on sharing peoples stories of how/when/why they decided to make nonprofit their career choice. Kristine Martin is the new President of East Side Neighborhood Services*. This is a BRAND new role for her and a really exciting move on her career path.  Her press release!  29 years in public and nonprofit


Ride On! Mountain Biking as a metaphor for life (& job search!)

I love mountain biking; the speed, the challenge, the woods, the bike … but when I first started I learned some hard lessons pretty quickly.  For me mountain biking is a bit counter intuitive to regular or road biking. And, while I love all types of biking, mountain biking challenges me in a way that


Spotlight Series #2 … Children’s Home Society (Lutheran Social Service)

Children’s Home Society  (CHS) is a wonderful adoption agency, my favorite in fact!  CHS is the agency we used to create our family and we’ve been part of their community for 17 years. Our social workers were supportive and caring. The process was understandable and thorough. And, I do think they did what they could to


Introducing… Andrew Rosen, President of Angel Foundation and my 1st blog interview

Through all my networking over the last year (and I’ve done a LOT), the best part has been hearing peoples stories and how/when they decided to make nonprofit their career choice. I’m going to honor these stories through blog interviews. Andrew Rosen at Angel Foundation is my first victim (I mean subject). Rather than recap information


Facing my Fear (i.e. STO Talks)

After a bit of internet research, it seems that public speaking is one of the top 10 biggest fears. In general, I enjoy public speaking especially if it’s a topic I’m passionate about.  However, put that event at my alma mater (St. Olaf) and you’ve just taken this to a whole new level. It’s not


Spotlight Series #1 … Bellis

As part of my regular blog updates, I’m going to add a Spotlight Series highlighting nonprofit organizations I am working with, what are the key problems they are trying to solve and how I am uniquely helping them in their mission.  Bellis is our 1st featured organization in the Spotlight Series!!  Look for more of


My Target Organizations

Since this site is meant to share my journey and learnings as I move from a corporate career into a nonprofit career, I thought it might be time to share the top 5 organizations I have in my scope and why I am so excited by this move. I want to start by saying, there


A letter to myself – 15 years later

Hello Tracy! This letter is coming to you from your future self.  I know you love surprises, so I’ll try to refrain from needing to warn of any spoiler alerts (you’ll know what that means in about 10 years). But, I did want to take a minute to tell you – loosen up & let


A Few of my Favorite Things … An Ode to Minneapolis/St Paul = Verse 2 Resources

As promised, there is just too much goodness in MPLS/St Paul for 1 blog, here’s verse 2!! RESOURCES Up and coming Financial Planner – Sara Smit Juran is a former colleague and brave new business owner. She set out from Target with a dream to help professional women with their financial health. She is smart,


A Few of my Favorite Things …An Ode to Minneapolis/St Paul = Verse 1 Non Profits

I thought about titling this post “The Best of….” but realized that I am a sample size of one and as such it would be ridiculous for me to claim that any of these are “the best” from a purely statistical stand point. Then I realized, when in doubt, lean on The Sound of Music


Day in the Life

Lately I’ve been responding to well meaning inquiries about how the career change journey is going.  What they are really asking is … what are you doing? (read between the lines…what do you do all day?!)  These are friends, family and former coworkers that truly interested in understanding and supporting my journey.  They are also


Join our team! Job Seekers Wanted!!

Do I have your attention? I should!  As a job seeker, I am constantly scanning the market for a role that will match my experience, skill set, passion and leadership style.  Not only do I want to add value in the role, but I want to feel accepted into the organization, find new ways to


Introducing, my Board of Advisors

As I continue my journey into nonprofit leadership I wanted to start by giving a very public ‘Thank You’ to some key people. Each of these amazing people has played a big part in my decision to move into nonprofit and my learning journey to date. I couldn’t do what I am doing without their


You are here ….

Thought I’d give an update on where I’m at, similar to the information board at the mall with the ‘you are here’ star; helping me understand where I am so that I can figure out where I’m going. Or as Steven Wright says, “I have an existential map. It has ‘You are here’ written all


Work in Progress

As I’ve been looking back over my last set of posts, I realized that I’ve been sharing a lot about personal lessons learned. It hit me that this makes me seem like I have it all together.  Not so!  Like most of us, there are lessons that I still need to learn and that I


Leadership Lessons from India

As I have been preparing to tell my story in networking meetings and potential interviews, I know that a common question will be “tell me about your leadership style”. This is a hard question to answer succinctly. It requires self reflection and honesty. Not to mention, how do any of us boil down what we’ve


Gratitude, Option B and Giving Back

For me, November is a time to be grateful. Not only is it Thanksgiving, but its also National Adoption Month.  This year, I’ve been thinking a lot about adversity, giving back and the gratitude that grows from those experiences. What I have learned is that the most meaningful times of gratitude come, not when things are


Life lessons at the Berlin Wall

This month marks the 27th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  What a wonderful metaphor for my life lessons and the beginning of my life’s mission; bearing witness to and nurturing people through times of profound change. The story – themes/life lessons are captured in ()’s That girl in the photo is me,


Old Dogs – New Tricks

Wow, when I left the corporate sector and started my journey of moving into nonprofit, little did I realize that it would include launching my own website! Those of you that know me know that I’m a luddite. I can speak and understand technical terms but, beyond being a simple user, I am hopeless. Luckily


Gainfully Unemployed

I am a few short weeks into be gainfully unemployed and I’m loving it! Gainfully unemployed may seem like an oxymoron so let me me explain my thought process. After 26 years at Target, I am working on a career change; moving into nonprofit leadership. I am approaching this change from 4 dimensions; 2 of


What Would You Do if You Couldn’t Fail?

What would you do if you knew you COULDN’T fail? For me the answer is … pursuing a 2nd career in nonprofit. 10 years ago I set out to do some heavy duty soul searching, focused on, what I wanted to leave as a legacy at Target and as a leader. It kept coming back