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Podcast Transcript

Women Supporting Women Part Two

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:10  
Welcome to "Your Authentic Path to Powerful Leadership" with Marsha Clark. Join us on this journey where we're uncovering what it takes to be a powerful woman leader. Okay, Marsha. We're in week three of our series on Women Supporting Women. And this week's episode is called "Paying It Forward" for a very special reason. So why don't you unpack what that's going to be about during this episode?

Marsha Clark  0:38  
Well, thank you very much, Wendi. And yes, we have two very special guests who epitomize paying it forward, Jaime Myers and Heather Hankamer. So welcome, Jaime and Heather.

Jaime Myers  0:50  
Thank you. Thanks for having us.

Heather Hankamer  0:52  
Great to be here.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:52  
So Marsha, this episode, is not only aligned with our theme of women supporting women, but it also lines up with National Random Acts of Kindness Week, which is this week from the 14th through the 20th. And Random Acts of Kindness Day is on February 17.

Marsha Clark  1:10  
I love that, Wendi. And you know, we deliberately asked Jaime and Heather to be on today's show because we sincerely believe that their contributions to women supporting women and their stories of paying it forward are perfect examples of acts of kindness. I won't say they're random. I think they were very deliberate. And yet acts of kindness nonetheless.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:32  
So before we dive into each of their stories and how it relates to everything we've hinted at, I think we need to give a little context around Random Acts of Kindness Week first.

Marsha Clark  1:43  
All right, let's do it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:43  
Okay, so most sources agree that the term random acts of kindness was derived from something Anne Herbert wrote on a restaurant placemat back in 1982 in Sausalito, California. The phrase was in response to someone's comment about the random acts of violence that were making headlines at the time. And Ms. Herbert's response was something to the effect of "What if, instead, we practiced random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty?"

Marsha Clark  2:19  
You know, I've heard random acts of kindness for a long, long time, right, books and the stories and all associated with that. I love the phrase, "and senseless acts of beauty". How wonderful is that?

Jaime Myers  2:31  
Such a great addition. I mean, just 'beauty'. I love that word.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  2:37  
Yeah, yep. So one of the ways the concept took off was in a book originally published in 1993 entitled "Random Acts of Kindness" and it was full of true stories of acts of kindness. It was updated in 2002. And there have been many other variations on the original theme since then, including a foundation, that provides resources to help educators and families practice this tradition.

Marsha Clark  3:06  
Well, Wendi, thanks for sharing that background. And I know, even as I was reading through this, it was new information to me. So I will also add that one other bit of trivia that our listeners might appreciate is that one of the original contributors to the Random Acts of Kindness book was Dawna Markova, and she also wrote the introduction to the book. And Dawna worked with us at EDS, for our listeners who know I worked at EDS for 21 years. And she worked with us to introduce the idea of learning styles and this is that some of us are visual learners, some are auditory, some are kinesthetic, and how we process, store and retrieve information is based on our learning style. And she was an incredible partner for us and really helped us improve not only on our content, but also our entire approach to delivering content. And at the time, it was a relatively new concept. So the connection there makes this even more special.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  4:07  
That is special. Okay, so fast forward to today and let's connect the dots between Random Acts of Kindness and Jaime and Heather here today. So Jaime and Heather, how did you first connect with Marsha and how did you end up in the Power of Self Program?

Jaime Myers  4:24  
So I first learned about the program through a friend of mine, Jada. She went through the program before me. We had bonded over being nonprofit executives in our 20's so needed extra support from each other during that time. And she suggested I go through the program, sharing how incredible it was, but also introduced me to an area Foundation to help support me go through their program. I wasn't able to afford it personally nor was my organization able to. And so even though they didn't know me, the foundation took a chance on me, the M.R. and Evelyn Hudson Foundation. They gave me a scholarship to go through their program and that's how I first got to know Marsha.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  5:02  
Yeah. Wow. Okay, Heather.

Heather Hankamer  5:05  
Well, so like Jaime, I also was a beneficiary of the Hudson Foundation and M.K. for me was a mentor, a friend, a cheerleader and she had to do a lot of convincing with me because I really didn't think that I had the time nor deserve to take the time to go through the program and to do something for myself. So 2015 ended up being my year, and boy, I'd need my own show to really tell you all the different ways that it has challenged me and enriched me - not only the program, but Marsha herself.

Marsha Clark  5:40  
So I have to give a shout out to, we call her M.K., Marshell Larson, who is the head of the Hudson Foundation. It's a family foundation that's been around for quite a while, who loves and supports nonprofits, particularly education  nonprofits. And so we owe a lot to M.K. as it relates to the Power of Self Program and the many nonprofits that she sponsored coming through the program in ways that would have been impossible otherwise. So shout out to you, M.K.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  6:11  
Hmm. Okay. So Jaime, your response to one of the activities in the final module of Power of Self was pretty extraordinary. So first, will you share what the original exercise was and what was it that inspired you, and what did you do?

Jaime Myers  6:27  
So at the end of the program, I think it's on the last day, Marsha asks how will you take what you've learned and share it? How will you pay it forward? My answer, I thought was fairly simple at the time since I'd only known about the program thanks to my friend who had gone through M.K. helping me financially go through it. I said, I want to help other women in nonprofit go through this program. Little did I know that would be harder than I expected. I simply thought I was signing up to be an ambassador and help share this great program with other women and nonprofits.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  6:59  
And it wasn't that simple? Why wasn't it that simple? Don't leave me hanging here!

Jaime Myers  7:06  
Well, I quickly learned as I was sharing with other women. They said I want to go through this program, I see the benefit, but I can't. And the two main reasons they kept running up against was the days out of the office to go through this 19 day program, but also the cost. It was out of reach for many in nonprofits. And so when I shared this with Marsha, she offered, let's create an abridged format. Let's reduce those number of days out of the office, let's reduce the cost so more women can go through it. It simply was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.

Marsha Clark  7:38  
Well, and I want to say, you know, when we first started Power of Self it was intended to bring women together from all over. So we've had, you know, whether it be nonprofits, education, foundations, ministers, military, government, as well as as for profit companies, and we had a not for profit, right. And yet, it was the base cost of, you know, a 19 day program. And so what I loved about Jaime's idea was really understanding what the barriers were and doing something to address those barriers so they were no longer barriers.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  8:13  
Okay, that makes sense. And then so from that exercise, you pitched your proposal to transform the Power of Self Program into this new version for the nonprofit community. All right, that makes sense. So Marsha, is that the first time someone was so fired up with that exercise that they started a whole new program?

Marsha Clark  8:34  
So the Pay It Forward exercise, we've had it in the program for all the 20 years that we taught it, and so there's everything from I'm gonna bring it back to my daughters, or nieces or granddaughters or whatever to, I'm going to bring it back to the women in my company, to, I'm going to mentor more women and get involved in nonprofits that support women, I'm going to make contributions, you know, all of that kind of thing. So this was the first one and, Jaime, I do remember that and thinking that's very ambitious. And not knowing what form it would take, so really, not even knowing how ambitious it really might be. And what I love about this is, you know, what we know is that if we think it, it has a 10% chance of happening, if we write it down 20, if we say it out loud 40, if we say it out loud in front of a bunch of people 80% greater chance of actually happening. And so that's a part of the reason for this Pay It Forward exercise is to have women make commitments, and have witnesses to their commitments. And so if Jaime was willing to put herself out there, I wanted to do everything I could to support her. So I remember it very vividly as I'm you know, quickly writing everything up on a flip chart and then we take pictures of it and do we go back and say now did you do it? No, it's not about you know, it's not setting goals and you know, I'm not your boss. I'm, you know, Marsha. So, what I loved about this is it came to be. It wasn't just words in a moment, it wasn't just a fleeting thought or, you know, even a 'Oh, wouldn't that be great?' moment. It was I'm gonna make this happen. And she did.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  10:12  
So, Jaime, what did you have to do to scale the original Power of Self Program into this version that would work for the nonprofit world?

Jaime Myers  10:22  
So I spent six to nine months really figuring out was there a need? Was there a desire for this additional program, this abridged format? I thought there was, but I wanted to make sure that there was enough demand to sustain it. And so I conducted a focus group, nonprofit alumni from the Power of Self Program to hear what resonated most with them, but also what was maybe less relevant if they were in a smaller nonprofit, for example. And that really helped to shape what content we kept in the program. I also surveyed area nonprofit leaders to learn what type of leadership and professional development they were seeking, and surveying area nonprofits to learn how many days would they be willing to allow their leaders to go out for professional development. What sort of stipend would they provide and maybe most importantly, I formed an advisory committee so that I was not the only one carrying this forward alone. And so they helped me to create the program, the organizational infrastructure, and really served as ambassadors to recruit participants in funding, and that included Heather. So each of the advisory committee members had participated in the program themselves. So they knew the power of the program, they were already bought into it. And so Heather and I, for those who don't know Heather, she has many gifts, but one is she is very creative. And she knows how to build experiences to inspire and engage and educate others. So her and I sat down in her office one day, with post it notes everywhere. And on each of those post it notes we were brainstorming. What was the impact of this program? What did it give to us? And from that, we came up with the name CCC Leadership. So CCC stands for clarity, confidence and community.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  12:00  
Ah, okay.

Marsha Clark  12:01  
So I just want to say one thing. What impressed me during all this process is the, I'm gonna call it the business like approach that they took. Because there's a lot of people who do this kind of work. They're great practitioners, they're not great business people who know how to organize it, plan it and execute it. And when I, you hear things like focus groups and advisory boards, and, you know, vetting and brainstorming, I mean, yes, all of those things can happen. But it's really necessary to get that and I, I so admired that approach, and I knew it was going to happen and work when that happened, (Okay) just watching that process unfold.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  12:44  
Absolutely. Heather, do you want to add anything to your experience back then?

Heather Hankamer  12:47  
I will just put an exclamation point on what Marsha just said. I think that the way that Jaime approached, I think I actually just to back up a second, I think I actually tackled Jaime, that I want to be a part of this. So I didn't know how that would transform over the years. But I loved my experience so much that and I knew that there was a serious barrier for women and nonprofit. And so when we came up with those three words, those were truly the three words that kept resonating with us of what we got from Power of Self.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  13:20  
Okay. Okay. So what were some of the greatest challenges with this? And on the flip side, what were the greatest victories?

Jaime Myers  13:29  
We'll start with the challenges. You know, I think when building something new, the biggest challenge is to gain others' confidence in it, right, to say yes, I'm gonna spend my time and resources to go through this untested program. We had the benefit of the Power of Self Program having 17-18 years of success behind it, but it was still new and new to many of the folks that we were speaking with, plus keeping the momentum going. I had left my full time job to start this program and so in many ways, I was a team of one (Oh, wow.) and so needed to learn how to ask for help, and to ask for help often from volunteers, right, from Marsha and Heather, who were donating their time to this cause. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention there were many women who helped to make this happen. And the committee members of Jessica and Carla, but Amy and Denise, who were part of the original Power of Self Program and gave their talents, their wisdom to help us really build this program. And then, of course, have I mentioned the funders as well. But in addition to the Hudson Foundation, the Boone Family Foundation was a huge advocate that without this would not have come to life. I think the greatest victory is seeing women go through the program. I remember standing in the first cohort in the back of the room watching those aha moments happen, right, the same ones that I saw happen in our class but for women in nonprofits, small, medium, large nonprofits, all sitting there together, to have these learning moments. And then afterwards to see them make real changes in their lives, to pivot more towards what fueled them, what resonated with them and to be more their authentic self.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  15:07  
Yeah. Heather?

Heather Hankamer  15:08  
I love that. I think, you know, the greatest challenge was convincing women in nonprofit because typically in nonprofit we're taught you do more with less. And that doesn't mean you. In my 15 years experience in nonprofit taught me that professional development was not a line item in the budget. And so, you know, really, that really was, you know, the challenge. And I think, you know, for me, getting more involved was was not a given. If you to ask me when we started this was I going to be more than just an advisory board member and a cheerleader I would have said no probably, because I enjoyed a really great career for 10 years in a higher education institute. But when I decided to leave in 2019, Jaime and I already started talking about, okay, we've had two classes, we're in the pivotal year three, we were thinking about are we growing, are we, what are we doing? And we both agreed it would be my turn to take over and see what we could do with it. (Okay.) And then I'm gonna say, then the pandemic hit.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  16:22  
I was gonna ask. You said 2019, so I'm thinking...

Heather Hankamer  16:26  
Yeah, so I had to rethink. So I went to Marsha. I remember I spent many Saturdays at Marsha's house where she graciously helped me understand how to make this sustainable. And part of that was me stepping into the role of facilitation. And so it's hard to believe. But we launched class three in September of 2020 (Wow.) right in the kind of height of the pandemic.

Marsha Clark  16:58  
In the heart of it.

Heather Hankamer  17:00  
Yeah, yes. And I think for me, the greatest victory was that class. And I cannot tell you, you could probably imagine, Wendi, but you know, those women in that class needed it so badly.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  17:12  
Oh yeah, because they're isolated even more.

Heather Hankamer  17:17  
Yeah and the things that I personally learned about watching Marsha facilitate everyday, she graciously gave her time and talents to that class, but the thing that we were hearing from those women just reinforced that I knew the nonprofit, especially now.

Marsha Clark  17:36  
I see the classroom, but it was funny. We had about, I don't know, eight rows of tables like a classroom, and the women were like three seats apart every row because it was social distancing. We had hand sanitizer at every station, we had Kleenex, we had masks, we had all of that, you know, and each had their own little candy. We had separate box lunches, so that nobody had to touch anybody else's food. I mean, it took a lot to make that happen.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:05  
I can't believe you weren't doing it virtually. This was impressive.

Marsha Clark  18:10  
You asked the question and the preference was to do it in person with safety precautions.

Heather Hankamer  18:16  
Yeah. So we asked everybody to take their temperature before they come to class every morning. And we put a lot of things in place. I will say that they were set to graduate in December but we ended up pushing that because December was a really a bad time, yeah, paces. And so I really, like Jaime talked about momentum or earlier and keeping up the momentum. And I think it was really important for me to launch that class. I was ready and we had enough people that were ready to do it, that that was really a pivotal moment for the program.

Marsha Clark  18:48  
And I want to talk a little bit about challenges and victories.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:51  
Well, that was going to be my next question! It's your turn, Marsha. Challenges and victories.

Marsha Clark  18:55  
So when I think about the challenges of nonprofits, so much of it depends on their boards, right? And does their board believe in professional development and are they willing to invest in it because they see that value. And when I think about women who are leading nonprofits, it's because their heart is with the mission of their nonprofit. It's not for money, it's not for anything other than I want to be a servant to whoever my target audience or target recipients are and I may or may not have leadership or business organizational kinds of skills, and I may or may not be able to convince my board that it's a worthy thing. And so whether it be the foundations that you talked about that help support it, we had a scholarship fund, the Dell Clark scholarship, we tried to raise money to help offset some of those costs, and so the challenges of all of that. And as you said, Jaime, I remember being at the back of that room too, and helping people know how to talk to their board, because so many of the boards are made up of business people. And to me, that was a bridge and a transition that we could help them cross. And, you know, our programs are a lot about the skills, the tools, the language, and so giving them the language of how to hit the hot button of their board members to get the support associated with that. And many of them had sponsors who were board members, which I thought was amazing, too. So to me, that was another victory is to figure out how you get that sponsorship to let the board members because the board members are a small community in Dallas, too, right? I mean, they talk to each other as well. So the more of that, it's another way of marketing the program.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  20:54  
Exactly, exactly. Okay. Now, Heather, we're gonna focus a little more on you. So you were serving on the Advisory Council for this fledgling program. What was the transition for you to becoming more involved?

Heather Hankamer  21:08  
So again, going back to coming to a point in my career where I was, all of the things that from Power of Self came back to me in 2018. You know, I have this great job at a small university running programs, working with middle school and high school students. But there was something more, right? So I feel like there was something nagging at me. And so really, I was very involved. I talked with Jaime a lot throughout the years and really felt like this would be a great second career for me. So I got my coaching certificate, really dove into the material and really wanted to figure out how do we grow and sustain CCC.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  21:52  
Okay, so since you've taken over the leadership of the CCC program, how much of Jaime's original design has remained and what adjustments have you made?

Heather Hankamer  22:03  
Yeah. Well, when we talk about the original design, I mean, Jaime really handed me a fully baked program.  Yeah. So there wasn't a lot had we not have had a pandemic, there would have been a lot I had not changed. So but because we had a pandemic, and that class three, what it really taught me was that when we have smaller classes, so Jaime's classes tended to be 20 to 22 people, that first class, I think, had nine people in it. And what it showed me was, is that smaller, more intimate class, the learning was so much deeper. So everyone got a chance to talk. Nobody could sit in the back of the room and not say anything and not be noticed. So it really, that was one really kind of key strategic change that we not only made for just to be COVID safe, we made it also for deeper learning, and we have kept the classes smaller. So I think the thing I'm most proud about when I think about how we've grown CCC is the establishment of the Marsha Clark Women Supporting Women Scholarship Fund. So for me, this was such an important kind of stake in the ground to make because that scholarship fund not only helps any woman who wants to go through the program, no matter how much money she can contribute to her cost, that fund has put so many women through the program. And it's really a desire. If they have the desire to go through the program, I'm gonna raise the money and figure out how that works. And the second part of why we established it, because we never, we want to always honor Marsha's continued work, right?  So two things that I know about Marsha intrinsically is that one, she loves to support other women and two, she's a big supporter of our nonprofit community. And so it just felt right to establish that. And it has raised over $5,000 since we've established it and like I said, put numerous women through. So that's the thing I'm really most proud of.

Marsha Clark  24:13  
Well, of course, I'm about to cry over here and having to take deep breaths. So I do love supporting other women. And as a supporter of the nonprofit community I've learned that over the last many years, and y'all have helped me tremendously to better understand that and you two are my go-to people when it gets to the nonprofit community when others are asking me about this, that or the other. And so the idea of, again, I go back to women who believe in the mission and the ability for them to be able to take a program like this and hone leadership skills that will transcend and not just benefit them and the people but it will contribute mightily to the sustainability. Because I think about, you know, the Center for Nonprofit Leadership. They do a lot of great training, but it's more specific. And I think the business development, how do you raise money, how do you do you know, that sort of thing, this is about truly team dynamics and building high performing teams, and, you know, rallying the troops to get behind hard times or whatever. It's a different skill set. And I think it we filled a niche. I think, Jaime, to your point in your original vision, it didn't exist and we wanted to fill it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  25:36  
Yeah. Yeah. And I have in my notes here that one of the things that also makes your programs, Marsha, unique to the nonprofit world is the assessments, the self assessments which typically I would think most nonprofit leadership rarely goes through professional development of any kind. And if they do, it's certainly not a self assessment. And then how does that apply to a team environment and how does that apply beyond in my organization?

Marsha Clark  26:05  
So we use many of the same assessments in the CCC Program that we do and did in Power of Self. So we went from Myers Briggs, and now we do the Lumina Spark, which is a deeper, broader version of that. We still do the Thomas Killman for conflict management, Brainstorm for decision making, FIRO-B for group dynamics and the imposter phenomenon, which we've done three sets three episodes. Hopefully, if you know about that, you you have listened to those episodes. And I think, look, if you're going to be a leader, it doesn't matter what you're leading. You've all heard me say leadership is a profession. So whether it's a nonprofit, a foundation, a classroom, a, you know, a home, whatever it may be, leadership is leadership. And so learning these things is just as important in a nonprofit organization as it is a for profit organization. So we really worked hard to keep that in.

Jaime Myers  26:59  
Can I add one thing to that, because I do think the assessments give you a language to talk about your own strengths, or maybe while you're having friction with someone else, but you didn't quite understand what it was. I think another unique part of the program is the coaching component. As a nonprofit leader, I had never been exposed to a professional coach. I'd never even heard about one. And so to have that individualized, customized support, to really take what you're learning in a cohort model and apply it to yourself individually and wrestle with it, those pieces that you know, were meaningful, but you're not quite ready to accept, to have that coach as a part of it, I think is really key as well. So that was part of why we of course, kept it in the program.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:41  
Great point. Great point. So Heather, you're not only a graduate of Power of Self, and you're a coach for this CCC Program, so you've seen the programs from all the sides. What, in your opinion, is the biggest benefit of this nonprofit version?

Heather Hankamer  27:59  
Common language. I mean, I really think that, you know, while for profit and nonprofit are all serving an end user, like Marsha alluded to nonprofits really do have the challenges of a board that has an opinion of raising funds, of telling stories. And so really, when I think about CCC and its biggest benefit is we can sit in the room and talk about things that are common in our world. And I want to say one thing that that we've pulled through that was so important for me during Power of Self was that to be a good leader, I didn't have to be A + B = success, I had to be the best version of me. And I think one of the things that this program and Power of Self does so well is says, "Who are you? What are your strengths?" and lead from there.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  28:56  
Right. There's no fixing.

Marsha Clark  28:58  
And it's authentic. It's all right, it's not a clone of something else or a 'should be' kind of thing. One other thing that strikes me too, is when people from the nonprofit sector get together, so they have their own organizations and gatherings. They're talking about how to work with their board or you know, how to raise money or you know, that sort of thing. To get into the room as a group of women and to talk about what it means to be a leader and that different kind of conversation associated with it because if I'm out in a professional or public sense, I gotta I gotta put my best game face on right. And when I'm in a room with other women who understand how hard it is or what it means to have a difficult board member what it means to try and meet this year's budget or you know, meet a new constituencies needs based on the services we provide. This is where I get to be the vulnerable me as a leader in a learning and supportive environment not in a, "oh, well, then I'm not going to give you money because it sounds like you're having too much trouble." Right, right. So you know, I get to deal with the real, deeper, tougher issues.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  30:10  
So y'all are getting ready to kick off new cohorts this year. How can someone who is interested in participating find out more?

Heather Hankamer  30:19  
So first of all, our website is a great source. So is where you go. And you're right. In 2023 we're offering three classes, again with that smaller, no class,will be more than 12 people. So we've got a spring, a summer and a fall cohort. And you can find that all on the website with dates and all of that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  30:42  
I love it. I love it. So how many women have completed this CCC Program to date, and from how many different nonprofit organizations?

Heather Hankamer  30:51  
So we've had 86 women who have graduated and they represent over 50 organizations.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  30:57  

Marsha Clark  30:57  
That in and of itself, is amazing and it's Dallas, Fort Worth mid cities, all of that in the local area here. Yeah, that's awesome.

Jaime Myers  31:05  
And we've even had participants drive from Houston and Oklahoma. Yay.

Marsha Clark  31:09  
I love it. And a nonprofit, I think this might be a good point of clarity, it is education, it is health care. I know women from the Choctaw Nation as a tribal nation and sovereign nation have been there, when you said Oklahoma that made me remember that. And any other categories that you would want to bring in, foundations, so 501 C threes or fours. Okay. And then government and education. Yes. Anything, basically, that's not for profit. (Correct.)

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:41  
Okay. Okay. Now, Jaime, I know you've shifted roles from executive director to coach and board member for the program. Looking back over everything the program has achieved over the years since you've started it, in what way or ways are you glad you took this risk to pay it forward?

Jaime Myers  32:01  
To find a short answer to that is the hard piece. I think a few things that really rise to the top for me one, is what we've already mentioned. It's seeing the women benefit that are going through this program and it's not just women that I knew beforehand. But I'm also an executive recruiter for nonprofits so I get to know a lot of leaders in this space and to hear them come to me and share, thank you. And they didn't know me as a part of the program that they went through in recent years. They know Heather, but to reach out and to say thank you and to share why is so powerful. I was speaking with one woman last week who is meeting up with her learning team, that we have support circles of a smaller group and your group, she's meeting up with their team three or four years later. (Wow.) That community of support for her has been so powerful.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  32:50  
What a legacy.

Marsha Clark  32:51  
Well, it's friendships forever, I mean forever going forward, right? We have the same thing in Power of Self. There are people, women, that have been meeting for 20 years, three or four times a year, because the support - the need for it doesn't go away. I mean, and in hard times, it gets even more important. And I love that. I love that, Jaime.

Jaime Myers  33:11  
And I have to also say another woman who went through the program recently, she was talking to me about how the tool she gained allowed her to be ready to move into a CEO executive director role for the first time, right. So those practical hands on tools are transforming their careers. And the last thing I'll say, because I could talk a whole hour on this piece, is to see how the program has grown with Heather taking it on, right, because she is so perfectly suited for this role to build this engaging, safe space for these conversations. And so to see it sustain it three classes a year, not anyone could do that. Eighty six women going through it is amazing.

Marsha Clark  33:49  
Well, and I just want to say, as a founder, because that's what you are, you're the founder, to be able to know to hand it off. I mean, you did what you did well, and now you're doing what you do well, and if that isn't authentic, powerful women leadership, I don't know what is!!

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:06  
All right, Heather, same question for you since you took over as the executive director.

Heather Hankamer  34:12  
So I think the biggest benefit for paying this forward is to see how this program is truly moving the needle. I agree with Jaime. I talk to women all the time about whether they've moved into a bigger role within their organization, or they have found themselves ready for a new role and a new organization. And I just I love the community that we're creating. It's a community of women who support and cheer for each other. (Yes, yeah, right.) Sometimes we think of the nonprofit community where there's maybe not enough pieces of the pie when it comes to funding or or programs or whatever. But these women are coming together and genuinely supporting each other and cheering on. So I'm also grateful that we are expanding our alumni program this year. And so we're offering monthly free workshops, thanks to the Hudson Foundation for that, and really just continuing the learning because one thing Marsha taught me is we're lifelong learners.

Marsha Clark  35:14  
Yes. And that's an important part of all of this is the lifelong learning. So I love that, that the alumni group now is large enough and interested enough to continue that process, because we're never done.

Heather Hankamer  35:27  
Right. It's true.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  35:28  
Well, and Marsha, finally you. You took a risk, too. So what has it meant for you to watch this program take root and grow?

Marsha Clark  35:36  
Okay, so when I see the word "risk", I kind of go, hummm, because I have high risk tolerance and I never felt it was a risk. I mean, I looked at whose hands it was in, I knew the commitment of the heart, I knew the intellect of the head, right, and I knew they were gonna go make it happen. So I never felt it was a risk. I just have to say that. I can only piggyback on what Jaime and Heather have both shared is the there's nothing more rewarding than seeing a woman believe in herself in ways she never believed in herself, achieving things that she never dreamed she could achieve. And it's the spirit of people can see in us things that we can't see in ourselves. And so helping another woman find that part of themselves that's going to enable them to achieve more, be more, not just achieve more, but be more. The self talk changes, right? I mean, that's a big part of this is the self talk changes and everybody goes, "Maybe I can do that. Maybe I will do that. I did it." I mean, it is a process that we go through and I just think that's beautiful. And everybody knows we need more women at the tables where big decisions are made that impact our worlds.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  36:58  
Absolutely. Well, Jaime, Heather, it has been such an honor to get to meet you both and hear your stories of how you've been role models of women supporting women and paying it forward with this CCC Program. So thank you both for being here.

Marsha Clark  37:14  
And I want to add my thank you too first of all, just good to see you. Here it is, you know, this time of year, and we're getting to visit as busy as we all are, that sometimes gets hard. And I love the update because I did not know the 86 women. That is a number I hadn't heard yet. And I thank you not only for being here and sharing your stories as a part of this podcast. I also appreciate the work you're doing day in and day out because it's not easy, along with all the things that the world has been experiencing and our nation is no exception to that and the nonprofit world gets hit hard. And so thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Heather Hankamer  37:49  
Well, thank you, Wendi and Marsha, for having us and Marsha always, for just being that lightning rod and providing us with such great support. And you're such a cheerleader. You give of your time and of your heart, and I can't thank you enough for that.

Marsha Clark  38:03  
My pleasure.

Jaime Myers  38:04  
Ditto. Thank you, it has been a pleasure to be here, to be with you. And then also for this program. Also you've been sharing these tidbits through the podcast as well. So it's a gift that you're sharing beyond the nonprofit program, but to others as well.

Marsha Clark  38:18  
You know, accessibility. Accessibility, that's our key. So I wanted to close today with something we mentioned Dawna Markova, the fact that she wrote the introduction to the Random Acts of Kindness book and worked with us at EDS. And she wrote in her blog about random acts of kindness. And let me preface this with an important note. So this is something that she wrote on her blog on February 21, 2020. So if we take ourselves back to that time. We were just really learning about COVID. We didn't really... it's a new word in the vocabulary, weren't quite sure what it meant and we had no idea that we were mere weeks away from a global shutdown. And we also learned what the word pandemic meant. And so this was also just a few months before George Floyd's murder that fueled the flames of those seeking social justice. So I want to share here what Dawna wrote: "Why practice random acts of kindness? I don't care what anyone says. These are challenging times. There are people sleeping under black plastic garbage bags and carrying their worlds in shopping carts. Children wear bruises and forget how to laugh (that hits me hard). Anxiety swirls around our minds like discarded newspapers with headlines that tell us to remain on indefinite alert. We are in a recession of the heart" (Another phrase I love.) "moving away from what terrifies us away from chaos, away from random acts of violence. We are simultaneously clutching at each other and moving away. When I was seven years old, my immigrant grandmother told me that she was surprised to find so many people in this country giving from the wrong place. When you give from here, she said, pointing to her solar plexus. It's like, it's like keeping a ledger book, like trading. I give you three. So you give me three, I sweep the floor. So you carry the bundles. You give your soul away when you give like that. Giving is supposed to be from here, she said, pointing a long bony finger to the center of her chest. When you give from the heart, you're not trying to get anything back. There is no owning or being owned. You give because you want to give. You give because it fills you up. Your heart will never run out because the more you give in this way, the fuller you will be. I know it's time to follow my grandma's advice and practice this kind of giving when the news has been particularly bad, or when a friend is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, or when I find myself shrugging, depleted, exhausted, just off. I'll go to the local grocery store and slip a $5 bill into the cashiers hand so she can apply it to the next person or line. Or maybe I'll bake cookies and drop them off at the food bank. It feels best when the recipient doesn't know who did the giving or where the gift came from. Sometimes I hide so I can watch his or her face. In a time when so many people feel powerless and unrecognized, when miserable things happen to wonderful people, there are moments when we must stomp our feet in indignation and outrage. But to balance all that it's important to remember all those people who have sustained our souls. And remember that each of us is the combination of an infinite number of improbable gifts from myriad nameless sources. Practicing random acts of kindness cracks the tough shell that begins to grow around my heart each time I watch the news or experience another suffering. The circumference of who I am begins to swell full and ripe, and a longing to reach, to risk, what can be possible, sprouts." That's the end of her quote. To me, there could not be a better one for the nonprofit world, right? In thinking about whether it be random acts of kindness, serving one another, being part of a larger community, honoring the mission of so many nonprofits in what they do. I loved being able to end with this passage from her recent blog.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  43:11  
It reminds me of there's a part of one of the modules where you talk about suffering pain in the world and letting that sit because I love there are moments when I must stamp my feet and feel the indignation and outrage, and that's fine. But you also can only do what you can do.

Marsha Clark  43:36  
Right. Right. It is a part of, it can be overwhelming, right? It's just too big, right and we get paralyzed or we get stuck or we get despondent, you know, because it's too hard. It's too hard to feel, it's too hard to think about and much less do something about it. And yet if each of us does some random act of kindness, it matters. It matters.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  44:02  
It matters, it matters. And that my friends is a powerful reminder of just how much we need to support each other. So thank you again, listeners. Thank you, Jaime. Thank you, Heather, for being with us today. Thank you all for joining us on this journey of authentic, powerful leadership. Please continue to download, subscribe and share this podcast from wherever you'd like to listen. Visit Marsha's website at where you can find out more about her book "Embracing Your Power" and subscribe to her email list.

Marsha Clark  44:37  
Yes, and you know, I also want to say that the scholarship that has been so graciously named in my honor, y'all can count on hearing from me because I'm gonna be soliciting funds, contributions, in the spirit of allowing even more women to experience this great program. It is the best of women supporting women whether it be in time, whether it be in financial support, whether it be in mentoring another woman, getting on the board of a nonprofit so that you can help to guide that. There's lots of different ways that our listeners can contribute in meaningful ways around all of that. And, you know, there are lots of different categories of nonprofits. And as we said, we've had all kinds inside the program. Those of you who know anything about me, one of my hashtags is value women and girls, and I want, the foreword in my book was that I wanted my grandchildren to grow up in a world that did value girls and women in equitable ways. And so if this moves you, think hard about what girls or women's organization you might like to support. And you could, I mean, think about it, you could easily sponsor a woman through a program with a very small contribution, shameless plug for raising money because that's what nonprofits do. And in my mind, it's not an intrusion. It is an act. I'm gonna go back because I've used this quote many times, "Diversity is a fact equity is a choice, inclusion is an action." This is a way of allowing more women to be included in leadership in more meaningful ways. So I will leave it at that. Let us hear from you in whatever way you choose to let us hear from you whether it be a check to the, I don't know whatever, whatever, (I just never get the order right.) Let us hear from you though, in ways if you are looking for a place where you can get involved, let us know that, too. And these two women are the best examples I can think of of women supporting women. So "Here's to women supporting women!"

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