Several years into my career in humanitarian aid and international development I was living in Colombo, Sri Lanka in the midst of a civil war. On my way to work each morning I would see a soldier in front of my apartment building lifting the sewer caps to check for bombs. This situation brought into sharp focus the choices I made that led me down a path I no longer wanted to stay on. In the beginning I was motivated by helping people affected by armed conflict and natural disaster retake control of their lives. In the process I had allowed work to take over my life. What once motivated me instead caused me to feel isolated and disconnected from family and friends who were on the other side of the world.
With the help of a career counselor I realized that the choices I made were no longer serving me, and that I had the power to choose differently. I also learned that while fundraising is a valuable skill that enabled me to raise millions of dollars for nonprofits that I could add even more value by strengthening the organization behind the mission so that changemakers can make the best use of these funds. Soon afterwards I quit my job, moved back to the U.S., and enrolled in graduate school.
I was drawn to organization development by a desire to help organizations that are making a positive difference operate more effectively. I was also troubled by missed opportunities to create a work environment where people feel fulfilled, enjoy coming to work, and are able to perform at their best. Through my training and consulting experience I learned that organization development is not about diagnosing and fixing operational problems. Instead it's about human systems where organizational health is determined by the quality of relationships among the people within the system.
I founded Shifting Patterns to support changemakers in addressing a critical challenge that is often overlooked in our community-- relationship building. When it comes to collaboration, we're often so focused on achieving the goals we've set that we tend to forget about taking the time to get to know the people we're working with and building the relationships needed to work well together. Supporting the development of collaborative relationships that advance social progress is where Shifting Patterns comes in.
I look forward to taking the next steps to work with you! Contact me to find out how to get started.