4 years at my Dream Job

As of July 5, I will have been working at Welty four years…first as development director, and then as executive director. When I gave notice at Kerry back in 2016 and described the situation I was moving to, my boss said, “this sounds like your Dream Job.” At the time, I was a bit taken aback, because I figured my dream job would probably pay a bit better and have a break room supplied with snacks. But as my role at Welty has revealed itself, and I learn the challenges (and the joy!) of the non-profit sector, I think she may have intuited something that wasn’t so obvious to me at the time.

Every day, this job includes demands and delights that keep it interesting. How do we reach our audience? What are our goals for Welty’s future? How do we create meaningful interactions with nature? How can we fund it? Who would like to work with us? There are so many hats to wear on any given day, that I have to stay sharp and pay attention. Never a boring moment, ever.

Old Welty, new Welty

(Two favorite pix–left: My sons at Welty Camp (Varsity and Green Ball) and why I joined the Board in 2014, right: Big Hill Center last July)

What a great way to mark an anniversary

That last question addresses the work I am most proud of–a successful future depends on who will partner with us. The Stateline area non-profits have been a source of inspiration in their willingness to collaborate and share. I am so happy we’ve been able to develop programming for many local service providers and find funding so that they don’t have to allocate precious resources to work with us. And these partnerships have taught us new ways to think about pedagogy and curriculum development, and have forced us to be creative and innovative.

…by thinking about the people who continue to make Welty strong and viable.

I am also grateful to internal partnerships that have strengthened Welty. Aaron Wilson has been Welty’s program director for the past two years and is the source of much of our creative programming; his thoughtful work has expanded our reach and brought many new folks to the Center. He is constantly coming up with new ways to make place-based ecology interesting to a wide variety of people, as well as training staff, volunteers, and interns in best practices to do this work. He and I are also guided by our wise Board of Directors, who have been essential to Welty’s growth by providing expertise, time, connections, and willingness to do the hard work of revision so that our organization continues to be relevant to the community. This has been a season of reflection, and we are having important and complicated conversations about how we serve the region, which are very affirming and energizing about Welty’s future.

So, yes, pretty much a Dream Job.  As there are many people to thank for making it so, I will skip a list at this time for fear of leaving anyone out.  But what a great way to mark an anniversary by thinking about the work we do and the people who continue to make Welty strong and viable. I am grateful, proud, and humble to get to do this job with all of you…thank you.

Brenda Plakans
Executive Direct, WEC