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 and I’m calling it “launching a career”.  Launching implies momentum, going places, stretching yourself and new experiences.  THAT is a much more comfortable place for me.

In that vein, I am officially announcing that I have launched a new career in the disabilities services sector as President of Mt Olivet Rolling Acres. I couldn’t be more humbled, excited or more scared.  It’s been 2 weeks (hence the time gap between blogs), and every day is a mix of emotions; alternating between pinching myself and waiting for the other shoe to drop (either finding something that wasn’t disclosed in the interview process or – and much more likely – they find out I really don’t know what I’m doing:)).

Mt Olivet Rolling Acres (MORA) is a 50 year old disability services organization that has group homes, day programs, an autism summer camp, case management, respite care, crisis care and run the MCCP (a crisis hotline for the 7 metro counties for people with disabilities). We have ~ 500 employees with the vast majority being care givers.  Our offices are in Chanhassen (Hwy 5 & Dell Rd, stop by!). Most of our homes are in Hennepin, Scott and Carver counties (think anything west of 169). The team is extremely caring and talented.  This is their life work and you can tell that it feeds their souls. I have never been in an organization that cares so deeply about people. They know all of our clients by name, and referred to them by 1st name in staff meetings, etc.  They have long and rich histories with the families that we support and MANY of our staff have been with us a number of times, leaving and coming back for the culture of care thats been created.

In the 1st 2 weeks I’ve gotten the chance to have a few remarkable experiences.

  • Sadly I attended a memorial service for a long time resident. Andi had been with MORA for over 30 years and was very sick. In May she went into the hospital and her care givers were concerned she wouldn’t be coming out. She was placed into hospice in her (our) home and the last few weeks of her life was care for deeply and gracefully by our caregivers, her family, the hospice nurses and her roommates.  We held a memorial service for her so that her family, roommates and caregivers could celebrate her life.  Wow. It was an amazing experience. Pastor Don (Don Don to her)  presided and it was all about Andi’s favorite music.  Her roommates, sang and moved.  Her caregivers shared their stories.  Her family thanked her caregivers for making sure she had a happy and joyous life. It was beyond touching to know how important she was to so many people.  The moment that hit home for me was when her brother read the scripture Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Since you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.  If you know me, you know I am not a religious person but I am a spiritual person.  This passage settled into my soul. This is why MORA is here. This is why I am excited to be a part of this organization. To serve.
  • As part of my on boarding, I’ve been touring our homes and day program. I’ve met some of our residents, talked to a few families and am hoping they will become friends.  Jackie loves to bake. Every holiday she bakes a new cake. But, she’s also very shy.  The 2nd time I met her, I showed her the crazy cake that Kay had made for herself for her birthday. Jackie’s eyes perked up and her caregiver asked if I’d send her the picture. I have no doubt they’ll be baking a similar cake soon.  Debby’s sisters and I have been chatting about the recent move of homes for Debby. She’s adjusting well and we’ve been discussing the best way to support her as she’s starting to experience age related issues as well.  Tracy greats EVERYONE that comes to Adult Day Services (ADS) with a big hug.  She was kind enough to have her picture taken with me and her hug made my day, it was a big long strong hug.  I think I might go every day just to get one.
  • We invited the board and new Senior Pastor (Pastor Lose) to celebrate 2 big milestones – hitting 400 referrals for our new case management work and serving 10,000 people through the MCCP crisis line.  Case Management was launching a year ago while MCCP is a 20+ year old program. It was fun to see the team interacting and encouraging each other. The Case Managers were in awe of MCCP’s accomplishments and the credibility they have developed for themselves. And the MCCP team was really proud that our case management work had a perfect audit by the state in their 1st year. The board introduced themselves to our staff and shared why they were passionate about MORA. Our board chair thanked Pam Miller for all our work as interim President and Pastor Lose expressed his excitement to learn more about our great work.

This is just the very beginning and we have a lot to do but, keeping the care of our clients at the center of all our work will be the inspiration and motivation we need as we move forward. I hope the team will be gracious with me as I learn this really complicated space. And, of course, I’m excited to apply my unique skills to make a difference in our operations and financial so that we can serve even more people.