At each Board of Directors meeting, I like to close the meeting with a “mission moment” by reading some recent comments submitted by our clients. These comments give me the chance to ground all of us to the impact Community Action has on the people and community we serve. It’s moments like these that I will miss tremendously as I retire following 29 years at Community Action. While the working chapter of my life closes, I am truly excited for the beginning of a new one filled with travel and time spent with my three beautiful grandsons and their parents.
With a background in early childhood education, I started at Community Action in 1990 managing the Child Development & Parenting program. When I took my first job here, I was happy, but I felt it would be temporary until I got to know Oregon better and could find the “perfect” job. The longer I stayed, the more I fell in love with Community Action – both with the important work we do and with the amazing people I have worked alongside over these many years. In each leadership position I held, I have always been proud to say, “I work at Community Action!” The reason is that no matter what door a client may come through, a thoughtful and empathetic staff member is ready to meet them, listen to them, and help them. Time and again, our clients tell us that after meeting with our staff, they feel seen and heard as a person, not as a problem or a number. I’m proud of so much here at Community Action, but I am most proud of how we work with and respect the people we serve.
My level of excitement for Community Action’s next chapter is sky high. The financial health of the organization is stronger than ever. The bench of talented leaders, both current and future, is deep and solid. Community Action is focused on the future, searching out ways to improve how we serve clients and deepen our impact in Washington County.
I am also excited because I am handing the keys of the organization over to our new Executive Director, Kemp Shuey. Kemp has been with Community Action for four years as our Director of Resource Development, and he is someone I trust to lead the organization into the future. Leading Community Action is a big task, and in my time working with Kemp I know he has the thoughtfulness, vision, and passion to carry the work forward. I believe in his ability to steward our culture and challenge the organization to continue finding ways to grow and improve.