Monday, June 13, 2011

Ten Year Tally

I have been President of Promise House for ten years this month and with the agency 13. Hard to believe. There are days I think I have accomplished absolutely nothing, and then other days when I feel pretty good about what we’ve done. Here’s some of the good stuff:

• I’ve had my same executive team for 9 years.
• I have the BEST executive assistant in the universe.
• We have gone from raising a little over $200,000 in local funds the first
year I took over to now raising over $1,000,000 per year.
• We have had a lot of fun.
• We have had some incredibly funny stories and weird happenings to keep us
from being bored.
• We totally re-branded the agency i.e., new vision, mission, values, new logo
and tag line, new website, new collaterals, banners, the whole 9 yards.
• We jumped into the Social Media world with both feet. I LOVE it!
• I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the most incredible people across
the country through my involvement with National Council on Youth Policy and
Grant Review.
• We saved our largest state program from total anihilization.
• We’ve served over 40,000 teens and their family members since I took over.
• My Leadership Team (VPs, Managers, and me) has grown tremendously in areas
of conflict resolution, team work across departments, productivity,
connection with and respect for each other.
• Our Street Outreach Team has more than tripled the number of teens brought
into the shelter and transitional living annually. They are awesome!
• We have gone from the best kept secret in Dallas to a pretty-well-known
agency. Long way to go still.
• I have worked with some incredibly dedicated board members over the last 10
• PH continues to have unbelievably dedicated staff.
• The kids—what a blast to be able to interact and hang out with them on a
daily basis.

Here’s Some of the Bad Stuff:
• Government continues to be the bane and life-blood of our existence. With
the recent news of the Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Program totally
closing at the federal level, we are losing our Parents with Promise Program
TOTALLY. The volatility of government funding SUCKS.
• Turn over is still too high at the case manager level. We are working
currently to grade that position to give folks somewhere to go in the agency.
• We STILL cannot seem to get the attention of the important people in
• We still need to grow our board of directors, both in numbers and in
• We haven’t grown like I want us to. Several attempts at expansion have not
worked out. Still pondering how to do that.
• Raising unrestricted $$ gets harder and harder every year.
• State Government…..enough said.
• Impact of the great recession. Survival mode is not fun.
• Day-to-day grind of never enough, never good enough, never fast enough,
never having time to savor victories or good stuff before something bad
WHAMS us in the face.

So, the rule of feedback is to sandwich bad stuff between good stuff, and end with hope. Therefore, I’ll end with the BEST thing:

I work in an honorable profession, have the honor and privilege of being involved in the lives of some of the most incredible teens on earth, get to work with dedicated and mission-driven staff, get to meet terrific people from across the country, have an incredible network of support when I need it, and, as a colleague from Oklahoma once said, I get to make whatever I want out of this job and the agency.

When I look at it that way, I think the good pretty well Xs out the bad. Here’s to 10 more.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

One of Our Own Advances!

Congratulations are in order for Regina Levine, Promise House Transitional Living Program Manager! She has been promoted to manage BOTH the Emergency Shelter AND TLP services for PH.

Regina has been with Promise House eight (8) years and has progressively increased her skills and credentials to be positioned as an expert in the youth services field. She originally came to PH as an intern working on her Masters degree in Counseling from Texas A&M Commerce. Of course we hired her when she finished and has served as Program Manager for several different programs. Along the way, she has become a Licensed Child Care Administrator and a Licensed Child Placement Administrator (both necessary to work with teens who have children). This August, she will receive her SECOND masters degree in social work! She has also participated in federal grant reviews, giving her a broad-spectrum knowledge of programs and grant-writing.

We are thrilled to have been able to promote from within, which is always our first choice and Regina was the perfect candidate. Her experience with teens and with parenting teens is tremendously valuable; especially since we are currently writing a grant to provide emergency shelter services to young teen parents (under the age of 18) and their children. She will be instrumental in helping to design this program.

It is ALWAYS such a thrill for me to watch employees grow and mature in their profession and aspire to advance, especially someone who has worked as hard as Regina has.

So, congratulations once again, Regina! Looking forward to great things from you!