I am so honored and privileged to return to the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California (EFNC) as I served here from 1995 to 2000
EFNC. Our mission has always touched my heart and I am looking forward to continuing to
build, strengthen and establish
what our talented Board, Professional Advisory Board, Youth Board, Staff and you, members of our epilepsy community, have already set in place.
Much of my vocational history and experience can be found
, so I thought I
would share with you a little
bit of the "Jody" behind the resume and why I am passionate about the world of non-profit. I attribute my passion and commitment to my work to
in my life.
first moment took place while I was on a walk with my dad and brother when he and I were just teens. My dad and my brother were discussing jobs and, more specifically what we should think about as we contemplate our lives' future. My dad told us both that whatever we choose to do, we should make sure it was something we loved and enjoyed,
for if we spent our lives doing what we love, what we 'need' would follow.
The second moment was realized during a lunch with my mom. While in college, I served in
the Student Government. Faced with the many challenges of our time -
campus violence, financial challenges for those in need, environmental issues, accommodations for those with Disabilities, and so on - the Student Government was charged with finding ways to alleviate the impact of these issues on our campus. As I shared these challenges with my mom and bemoaned the ills of the world, despairing over the seemingly insurmountable breadth of the problems our world faced, my mom listened quietly, then asked, "What are you going to do about it?" With that simple question, she lit the fire of passion and the idea that I actually COULD do something about it!
The third and final moment was also realized during my college years. I had the honor of starting a Safe Rides Program for the campus - a free program providing sober rides home on weekends. It was during the creation, management and implementation of that program that I realized that this is what I wanted to continue doing - to work in the non-profit world. And thus the career of a lifetime began and I am ever so grateful it did.
Of the many roles that one can find in the non-profit world, I truly enjoy being an Executive Director. This role demands flexibility, patience, balance, and lots of creativity. No single day is like another and the challenge to continually improve is
inspiring and motivating. I often reflect on how lucky I am to have this as my "job." For this "job" is an opportunity many others have to wait until they "retire" to do so in a meaningful way.
But I must admit to having one passion that is above and beyond that of being an Executive Director. As satisfying as this role is, I consider my most important job in this world as being a mom to my kids. They are the light of my life, my inspiration and motivation. I constantly draw on my life with them for the purpose, empathy and understanding of those in need. I am regularly humbled by their innocent wisdom and insights. They, the other children in our world, and those who face daily challenges in life, whether they be due to chronic, life-changing conditions, societal discrimination, or any other injustice, keep me focused on doing that which has become my personal motto, "In all things, affect positive change."
As I look forward to reacquainting myself with EFNC, I have a few immediate goals in mind. These goals include creating
greater access, a solid fiscal foundation, collaboration among professionals, and an expanded education and awareness platform
. Access is critical, especially for those in the farther reaches of our territory, so we aim to improve that via technology, in-person support groups and peer-to-peer connections. Sound fiscal planning is essential for the longevity of a non-profit organization and therefore a diverse and varied fundraising portfolio is important for both the health and impact we can have on those we serve. Building collaboration among the top institutions in Northern California will help accelerate treatment protocols, clinical research, and technological advances. Finally, education and awareness - always important and ever critical. The more that we can educate the 99% who do not have epilepsy as well as raise awareness to fight the stigma associated with the disease, the greater success we and all those living with epilepsy will have at living a life of quality and peace.
I close by saying
thank you for the warm welcome
. I practice an 'open door' policy and am available to talk to anyone who would like to help me ensure that the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California continue its current path of success. And I stand ready to take this Foundation into the future - to grow, expand, improve, strengthen, and advance to the benefit of each and every person touched by epilepsy here in the Northern California region.
Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California