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This page is devoted to the management of volunteer programs in health care settings.


~August 2012~

Passing the Torch


Seems as though everyone around me is retiring!  Within our profession alone, Steve McCurley and Linda Graff, trainers, relay torch speakers and consultants have both retired.  On a more local basis, there were three pretty major announcements of retirement within a two-month timeframe.  The CEO of our healthcare organization retired after 40 years.  The CEO of our United Way is retiring after 23 years.  And the Executive Director of our local leadership program is retiring after 20 years.  While I wish them the very best, it is a time of uncertainty…..largely because these folks have been instrumental in making my world a wonderful place to live, work, raise a family, etc. 

Change is always hard….even for those of us who consider ourselves change agents.  It is the uncertainty of change that challenges us.  It is human nature to get comfortable with our world as we know it.   As I reflect on these transitions, it occurs to me that we are all here for just a short bit of time, in our place of employment, our home, our life. 

Consequently, it is our responsibility to prepare the way for those to come after us.  Our challenge as volunteer program leaders is to make the best of each and every day interacting with volunteers, other staff, patients and visitors to make that a meaningful moment of interaction.  If we ensure a solid foundation for the program complete with adequate processes, then the program will sustain whatever changes may come.  Add in the generational diversity that abound with volunteers of all ages in our programs and change can be even stronger because it is built upon a solid foundation.

For now, I will experience the sadness of seeing wonderful relationships with people I work, admire and look up to ride off in the sunset of retirement!  While they may be gone from my everyday landscape, they will not be forgotten in my heart.

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The author of the Heath Care Volunteer Programs column is Mary Kay Hood MS, Hendricks Regional Health, Danville, IN (317) 745-3556. With a BS degree in biology from Marian College and a Master of Science in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University, Mary Kay has been involved in volunteer management over twenty years with a zoo and in the health care field. During that time, she completed the Management of Volunteer Programs course offered at University of Indianapolis, several supervisory training programs as well as the Indiana Hospital and Health Association’s Management Institute offered by the Executive Education Program, School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Mary Kay served on the Nonprofit Training Center of United Way from 1993 to 2006. During that time, she taught many workshops also facilitating speaker arrangements for the Basic Volunteer Management series. Additionally, she has presented at various national and international conferences. Mary Kay served as president of the Central Indiana Association for Volunteer Administration (CIAVA) from 1993-1997 and the Indiana Society of Directors of Volunteer Services (ISDVS) from 2006-2008. She was also the recipient of the 1995 Outstanding Director of Volunteer Services Award and the 2002 United Way of Central Indiana Volunteer of the Year Award. Most recently she served on the Steering Committee for COVAA resulting in the formation of a new national membership organization for those in volunteer management, the Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE). With several published articles, she is also author to two books: The One Minute Answer to Volunteer Management Questions and The Volunteer Leader as Change Agent.

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