“It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had … and the best one.”
That was my sincere response to inquiring minds of friends and family after leaving the private business sector and serving in the challenging position of Executive Director of the Kaimuki-Waialae YMCA during the 1990s.
Having already been a part of this Y Ohana since 1963 as a teen participant and later as a volunteer board member, the culture was familiar and comforting. Yet, as an Executive Director, I had to look at the Y from a different viewpoint. And, at the time, the challenges were… well, pointed and sometimes prickly.
Sustaining an aging facility, meeting a growing demand for more diverse programs to serve the multi-generational families in East Honolulu, bolstering our sagging community collaborations - these were just some of the pop-up problems that came up in my daily work life. “Like juggling bowling balls,” was the analogy I liked to use for my work - something that would literally be challenging and tricky to do. All of this on a shoestring budget and thankfully, with a hearty, spirited group of staff and volunteers who also believed in the values and worthiness of the Y.
What’s the number one lesson I learned in all those years?
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