Next week, we are honoring Shonda Schaefer’s dedicated service to GRACE as Executive Director. Shonda was elected to the GRACE Board of Directors in 2003, and asked to take on the role of Executive Director in 2006.
GRACE has developed into the successful organization that it is today because Shonda believes in the power of collaboration of driven individuals. She says, “Ten years ago, we were half the size we are now. Our programs have increased in reach, with the various departments coordinating efforts to create a holistic approach.” GRACE partners with almost 100 different nonprofit businesses and organizations to serve the needs of the community. She added, “The culture has also changed drastically. To be more of a family, get the wheels turning in the right direction.” GRACE truly is a well-oiled machine.
Shonda is proud of the fact that GRACE has been ranked consistently at or above the national average in effectiveness and accountability by the industry’s regulatory watchdogs like The Better Business Bureau, Guidestar, and Charity Navigator to name a few. “It proves we are a stable organization doing good work. We are transparent, and we’ve received countless awards and recognition from credible organizations whose job it is to monitor and recognize outcomes.”
Shonda beams when she claims that her favorite part of her job are the people. “One hundred percent – from the staff, the volunteers, clients, community leaders and donors. Getting to work with the most amazing people on something that means so much to me and my family…it truly is a dream job.”
Shonda’s confident and caring smile commands attention. She exudes a sense of authority. But when asked for her thoughts on what makes a great leader, she simply answered “humility.” She believes that a good leader inspires those around her to believe in their work. “This is an industry where you have to be in it for the right reasons. You have to want to be there to get the work done, no matter what it is you do or how challenging it can get.”
And she sincerely believes that GRACE would not have come as far as it has in her ten years without the efforts of all involved. “I feel really humbled. I look at this organization and I’m so proud to be part of it, I’m embarrassed that I get to be the face, as I am just a tiny piece of this wonderful puzzle. Hundreds and thousands have worked really hard to accomplish our mission.”
With that, she quoted John Elieson, former board president and board member :
“We are to recognize that it is not only our opportunity to serve, but it is our responsibility.”
What’s in store for GRACE in the near future you ask? Shonda explains the organization’s vision as “The coordination of services under one roof. We have a strategic plan in its development phase that will allow us to be more coordinated and more efficient. It’s about stewardship – taking resources to use them in a more effective and efficient way.”
You’re cordially invited to attend the celebration event for Shonda. It will be held at The Compass Center on Tuesday, November 8 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at 4201 Pool Road in Grapevine, Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to Shonda on her ten years with GRACE! And here’s to many more to come!