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Networking Breakfast for Pennsylvania Nurse Residency Collaborative.
From Left to Right: Sarah Hexem, Mary Lou Kanaskie, Pam Meinert, Amy Ricords, Cathy Witsberger, Cindy Cappel, and Faye Gardner.

“Every new nurse should have access to a high-quality residency program. Yes, you need to stay competitive for recruitment. Yes, there is an impressive return on investment when looking at retention. But, honestly, we are at a point where it is just the right thing to do,” says Amy Ricords, MEd, BSN, RN-BC.

Ms. Ricords currently chairs the Steering Council for the Pennsylvania Nurse Residency Collaborative (PA-NRC). The PA-NRC officially launched in August 2016 as a strategic partnership between the Pennsylvania Action Coalition and Vizient, Inc. Through the PA-NRC, hospitals throughout the Commonwealth can access the Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program™ at a discounted rate and receive additional state-level networking and technical assistance opportunities. The Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing Report recognized nurse residency programs as instrumental in improving the quality of healthcare. Pennsylvania is the third state to implement the NRP at a state level. To date, 57 hospitals in Pennsylvania participate in the PA-NRC. 

“Unfortunately, although all health care settings hire new graduate nurses, residency programs have not permeated beyond larger acute care settings,” states Ricords. When not volunteering with the PA Action Coalition, Ms. Ricords serves as the Director of Nursing Education and Professional Development at Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center, where the Vizient Nurse Residency Program was implemented in 2010. Ms. Ricords has also worked in homecare, acute rehab, acute care, and in various leadership positions. “In every setting, I can see the value that the curricular components of the Nurse Residency Program would bring.” 

Ms. Ricords is particularly interested in the generational dynamics of the nursing workforce. As the baby boomers seek successors and nursing schools turn out millennials by the thousands, health care systems are challenged to think creatively about how to quickly and effectively support emerging nurse leaders. “When we look at our entry level nurse leader positions, nearly 50 percent of graduates are from the Nurse Residency Program. We aren’t just transitioning the new nurse, we are fostering the next generation of nursing leadership,” she says. 

With hospitals clamoring for Magnet status and high competition for new graduates, most health care systems are looking to residency programs that can be accredited and typically those programs have a price tag. For systems hiring hundreds of new graduates a year, the cost-benefit is clear. “The challenge is that many smaller hospitals that hire fewer graduate nurses, see the large systems and say, ‘that isn’t for us.’ Yet, small cohorts are often even more effective because they can be so closely tailored to the needs of those nurses. And the margin for smaller hospitals means that preventing even one nurse from leaving prematurely makes a huge difference.”

Ms. Ricords is working with the Steering Council, the Pennsylvania Action Coalition, and Vizient, to find new ways to bring the Nurse Residency Program to smaller hospitals, rural health settings, and non-acute settings. “The first year of the PA-NRC was about getting up and running, establishing critical mass, and building a sense of community. Now, we are looking at how to leverage the wealth of experience across the state to support nurses’ practice in health settings of all kinds.”

Amy Ricords conducting the Pennsylvania Nurse Residency Collaborative Implementation Training at Einstein Medical Center.

Ms. Sharmain Matlock-Turner is the President and CEO of the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC). She began her tenure at the Coalition in March of 1999, with a special distinction as the first woman. As the first female UAC leader, Sharmain considers being heard the toughest part of her job. With the existing unintentional bias, she endeavors to maintain a delicate balance trying to push her way in without making others uncomfortable. 

Training in politics helps Sharmain to overcome the most challenging aspects of her nonprofit leadership work. In 2005, she was one of three Philadelphia nonprofit leaders selected to receive a scholarship to the Harvard Business School’s nonprofit leaders' summer program. She formerly served as Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Office of Economic Opportunity for the City of Philadelphia. She also served on the boards of the Philadelphia Gas Works and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. These collective experiences have strengthened her ability and confidence to make people recognize her seat at the table and value the experience and knowledge that she brings. As she said in the interview:

“I get to understand that my value and ideas in some periods of time might be unrecognized… And I am an African American. There are more biases against that. But I never let them stand in my way. I just feel that these make me stronger and more effective.”

As for the most rewarding part her job, Sharmain emphasized that it is all about the people. Those who work in UAC and who get helped from UAC keep motivating her nonprofit leadership work. A young man who attended UAC’s youth summer program later became a full-time staffer of UAC. A teenager who attended UAC’s financial education workshop successfully obtained his first credit card. Many stories like these are rewarding for her. 

“Knowing that you have the power to influence how people view themselves and how they see the potential of their place in the world. That is the most rewarding thing in the world. You know that you really touch people.”

UAC operates like a huge umbrella and partners with a variety of nonprofits. To manage such a complex strategic partnership, Sharmain found that the key to her role is to get to “Yes” responsibly. When some partners present a problem, she considers if UAC has the skills internally or resources externally to support solving the problem. Collaboration serves as a second crucial approach to successful strategic partnerships. Sharmain values the grassroots-level staffers and believes that the real work gets done on the ground in the communities. As the president of UAC, she views that her position is responsible for coordinating all parts to make sure the holistic system works and that UAC can make the partners’ work easier and more effective.

Dealing with the diverse partners, Sharmain hoped to encourage the uniqueness of individual programs while standardizing administrative and cash management. Contrary to a factory, UAC tries to maintain the specialness of a program and strategy. Yet, Sharmain considers standardized and effective cash management as critical to avoid disruption of program progress. 

As a community-rooted nonprofit, UAC has brought many crucial opportunities to communities. The organization’s efforts are focused in four areas: improving life chances for youth and young adults; building wealth in low-income communities; strengthening the grassroots nonprofit sector; and forging strategic partnerships across sectors and communities. Among the ample contributions she has made, Sharmain regarded bridging the gap between low-income communities and financial services as the most crucial opportunity that UAC brings to the communities it serves. The entirety of the work and advocacy that Sharmain and her staffers have done is to make sure that financial institutions stay connected to the low-income people at a grassroots level in communities. Sharmain remains confident that the communities that UAC serves recognizes their contributions:

“We’ve got to make sure that we are touching people in the communities, so that we have a give-and-take understanding of their needs, answering some of the needs, and getting their feedback, so that we know we are working on the right track.”

Under the contemporary political recession, nonprofits face the challenge of reduced funding. Government grants comprise a major source of UAC’s funding. Recognizing these challenges, Sharmain retains a positive view that the pain is shared across many places and can be overcome through many ways. She has promised not to hold back in paying the senior-level staff to ensure a stable management team. Also, she is making sure that UAC’s portfolios are big and diverse enough so that they can transition some of their programs when the grants they currently receive are no longer there. 

Sharmain is confident that UAC’s business model has helped the 47-year old organization to live on from year to year, as well as to maintain focus on what’s most important. She also considers it crucial for her to stay connected to policy makers so that UAC knows the next big ideas and how their programs either can be part of these ideas or if there is a need to redesign their projects to ensure they are part of the next big thing as well.

As an intern in Diane’s organization, I have had the pleasure of getting to know this dynamic and fierce leader, day in and out. Her commitment to gender equality and economic security makes WOMEN’S WAY lucky to have her leadership. She brings more than 30 years of political, fundraising, and nonprofit experience to her role in the organization.

As I sat down with Diane, I was pleased to listen to her explain her passion for fairness and equality for all.

How Diane Describes Her Leadership Style and Tips to Fundraising

Diane believes that telling a story and having empathy is the key to running a successful nonprofit. One has to believe in the mission they are describing rather than trying to “sell it.” Success is all about relationships and understanding the collaborative process. She emphasizes that understanding a funder’s needs and hesitations is the best way to secure funding and carryout your organization’s mission. Putting yourself in your funder’s shoes creates trust and a joint process where both parties in the relationship benefit from a new initiative. Asking for money is not her clear objective, she wants to excite someone to believe in her mission, and she believes money will follow.

Diane believes in a “Shared Leadership Model.” She believes everyone in an organization needs the resources and encouragement to carry out their everyday tasks. She believes in autonomy of every department and empowering her staff to take leadership. Feedback from every staff member can grow an organization immensely.

As an executive director in an organization in a restructuring and strategic planning phase, she finds it imperative to not cut any one out of the organization. She lines up every employee’s needs with the organization’s mission for a connected and collaborative leadership approach. She focuses on the growth of the organization through data-driven decisions and modern approaches to communications and outreach. She is currently spending her time rebuilding WOMEN’S WAY’s visibility within the community and plans to develop strategic partnerships within the community to achieve equity for all.

“I lead by helping other people become leaders.”

How did Diane Become Involved in the Nonprofit World and Become the Executive Director that She is Today?

As a child, her parents were very involved in social justice work. Her parents instilled this core value in Diane and her siblings very early in life, making achieving social justice a driving force in all the work she does. This laid the foundation for understanding the inequities that are prevalent in society and guides all her decisions and actions today. 

She began her career in health care as a physical therapist in Chicago and began as a professor of physical therapy at Thomas Jefferson University. In 1991, when homelessness in Philadelphia was at an all-time high, she began volunteering with Project HOME, an organization focused on assisting the homeless gain better access to healthcare. She then went on to establish a program for the homeless in Philadelphia, by working with her students to provide physical therapy services. 

Diane knew she had a calling so she left her full-time faculty position to open her own nonprofit organization helping artists with severe mental illness. Diane and her husband remodeled an old warehouse and opened a community center in North Philadelphia called Journey Home. This community center expanded into selling artwork and providing afterschool programs and summer camps with absolutely zero nonprofit experience. Diane then went on to run for the seat of State Representative of the 168th District, where she secured the highest percentage of votes on the Democratic ticket. Between 2007 and 2015, Diane served as the Executive Director of the Federation of Neighborhood Centers (FNC), a non-profit organization that provides health and human services to more than 35,000 disadvantaged individuals per year. 

“I did not have a mentor, I did not have a teacher. I did this all by myself, by tossing myself into the fire and using my commitment to social equity as my drive. Learn by doing is my motto.”

To learn more about Diane’s work with WOMEN’S WAY and their continuous fight for gender equality, visit

Bethesda Project seeks to find and care for the abandoned poor and to be family to those who have none. Tina Pagotto is new to the role of CEO, but she is not new to the Bethesda family. She began 12 years ago as the Development Assistant for the organization that currently serves 2,000 homeless and formerly homeless men and women at 14 sites throughout Philadelphia. 

Tina did two placements in different departments through her master’s program that let her see how Bethesda Project does casework and program development before moving on to the Housing Program and the role of COO before her current role. She brings an understanding of Bethesda Project that she hopes will help her make a difference for the men and women they serve. 

The organization was founded in 1979 by Reverend Domenic Rossi and members of his prayer group from Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, Pennsylvania when they reached out to a group of women experiencing homelessness in Center City, Philadelphia. The group committed themselves to serving as family for the women. They rented them an apartment and provided companionship as they coped with mental illness and healed. 

The group bought a house with the support of foundations in Daylesford Abbey that became a permanent home for formerly homeless women. As the prayer group saw the need grow, they hired their first paid staff and began to expand their programs. Through partnerships with other nonprofits and local churches, the organization sought to provide the best care for homeless and formerly homeless adults. 

Today, Bethesda Project offers a continuum of care to meet homeless men and women where they are. Their sites range from emergency shelters to supportive housing and independent living spaces. Case managers meet with the men and women and help them develop an individualized care plan. Once the plan is in place, case managers connect residents to services in the community that assist them in achieving their goals with an aim to help them become stably housed and increase their independence. 

Tina says their mission is what makes them uniquely qualified to do this work. Their mission to be family for the abandoned poor calls them to actively seek out people needing their services. They have a department focused on community life, which focuses on connecting residents with other residents, staff, and volunteers. Their housing model sets guests up in a single site where they interact and form relationships with one another and staff rather than setting them up in apartments on their own with staff checking in. Their mission also leads them to connect and serve people who have the most difficult cases and people who need family most, single adults experiencing chronic homelessness.

Tina is incredibly proud that as they have grown, Bethesda Project has stayed true to that mission. “We do what we say we will do for vulnerable populations,” Pagotto says. As the organization grows under her leadership, she wants to keep that mission central. Fundamental to everything she does is also the core values of social work: service, social justice, dignity and worth of the individual, centrality of human relationships, integrity, and competence. 

Tina strives to be a consistent and thoughtful decision maker as she leads Bethesda Project into a new chapter. She tries to cultivate a team of leaders with her staff by supporting and encouraging them to be thought leaders in their piece of the organization. She hopes her team of leaders will help her overcome the challenges that Bethesda Project faces over the next years like government contracts that don’t keep up with the costs of administering programs. 

She also hopes her staff can help her make her vision for the future of the Bethesda Project real. She hopes to attract young, engaged people in Philadelphia to the organization and grow the reserves. Tina also hopes that they can gain more recognition. The church group that started Bethesda Project remained humble and true to their roots, working behind the scenes to serve the homeless across the city, but getting the word out about the work they do is essential to attracting the funding they’ll need to be sustainable going forward. 

Tina is also determined to make a dream the organization has been working on for years a reality, an engagement center that gives people a place to walk in and get connected to services. Small-scale and comprehensive, the center will welcome those taking the first steps to get off the street on the ground floor, while also offering short-term respite beds and permanent supportive housing above, all in one location. Bethesda Project continues to look for the ideal space for this project. 

As they move into this next chapter, she also hopes to continue to grow partnerships with organizations doing similar work in the city and with unexpected partners. Bethesda Project has found a partnership with the Phillies very fruitful. The Phillies support Bethesda Project by hosting their biggest fundraising event of the year, volunteering in Bethesda’s shelters, and even helping a client find employment. 

“A resident of Our Brothers’ Place heard that the Phillies were coming to serve their annual meal and took the opportunity to hand General Manager, Matt Klentack, his resume. Klentack helped get him a temporary job in the kitchen that turned into a permanent position, something that has worked well both for the resident and the Phillies.” 

Tina expects to continue to have more flexible and innovative partners that will yield similarly rewarding results. They’re in the early stages of a discussion to partner with another organization to bring gardening programs to their residents. 

Their more traditional partnerships have also continued to develop. The City of Philadelphia has been a strong ally and the mutual referral partnership with mental health and recovery services in the area have become stronger due to this.  A partnership with Project H.O.M.E. to open Connelly House and house 79 formerly homeless men and women has been extremely successful. Tina hopes all of these relationships will continue to blossom during her tenure as CEO. 

Tina is well positioned to lead the organization into the future, her long tenure has given her an appreciation for what the organization does and represents, but also how the foundation can continue to grow. She hopes that expanding the donor base to include younger individuals and getting the word out about the great work Bethesda Project does will allow them to continue serving as family for those who need it most for decades to come. 

Founded in 1980, Ashoka began with a hope to create the field of social entrepreneurship Bill Drayton believed in, one focused on investing in individuals with a system-changing idea and entrepreneurial skillset that would achieve the greatest social impact. Ashoka understood that innovative and leading entrepreneurs are spread all over the world, so in 1981 Ashoka began identifying what would become the Ashoka Fellows in India and supporting their social change ideas with a three-year stipend and powerful network. The work that began in India started formalizing and expanding in 1986 when their Fellow reach spread to Brazil, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Today, Ashoka has furthered its reach to more than 93 countries and a network of more than 3,000 Ashoka Fellows globally. 


Change Leader and Manager of the Board of Directors, Samara Randhawa is based out of the Ashoka headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Samara began her career with Ashoka as a 22-year-old working on a two-year apprenticeship directly with Bill Drayton. Samara believes that the opportunity to learn from Bill Drayton truly changed the way she views the world today. Following the apprenticeship, Samara’s role within Ashoka evolved with her working as the Manager of Global Communications, Co-Leader on the Strategic Planning Team, and most recently as the Partnership Manager and Manager of the Board of Directors. Recently, as part of the Framework Change Team, Samara proudly worked on the internal strategy guide of Ashoka’s organization framework change strategy to achieve Everyone a Changemaker.™ 

Samara brings a global perspective to her work as she is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Carleton University in 2006.


Samara believes that by working behind the scenes in support of Fellows and Ashoka constituents and assuring that Ashoka grows financially and strategically she is in fact setting the stage for everyone to have the self-permission and empowerment to contribute to change. The following quote perfectly describes Samara’s view of the world and her purpose as a leader. “Everyone has a calling -- a way of doing and being -- and I am working to create a world where everyone has confidence and self-permission to creatively contribute to change and shape the world for the good of all.”


Samara is clear in her commitment and dedication to system changing solutions and every person knowing they are a changemaker. Samara appreciates the opportunity to partner with leaders across Ashoka’s team of teams to achieve the shared goal of Everyone a Changemaker. According to Samara, for hundreds of years the world has largely organized in a model of repetition; where rigid hierarchies were the norm and people learned a set of skills that could serve them for life (e.g. Henry Ford assembly line). This old paradigm is quickly disappearing and the world is now in a new paradigm that is defined by rapid change. She describes it as a world led by open fluid systems where everyone must be contributing to change, particularly for the good of society. As part of this shift, Ashoka is introducing a new framework for living and working together in this new paradigm: Everyone a Changemaker. Social entrepreneurs are at the heart of this transformation because they are the architects of the new systems we need -- individuals focused on ensuring a more equal, just, and healthy society. In a world of rapid change and increasing problems the answer is more problem solvers. Ashoka is dedicated to achieving maximum impact by introducing this powerful new Everyone a Changemaker framework that ensures empathy, teamwork, leadership, and changemaking as the guiding framework for all. 

Most Important Contribution

Samara welcomes and appreciates the opportunity to expand Ashoka’s marketing and revenue plans. Her current challenge includes helping to spearhead a global youth campaign and messaging strategy for Ashoka. 

After Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum, a premier children’s museum focused on learning through play, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2015 and its CEO, Lynn McMaster announced that she was stepping down, it became quite clear to the board of directors that new leadership and a new plan was necessary. Familiar with her work from a previous strategic planning and consulting stint, the museum’s search committee approached Trish Wellenbach, a well-known consultant and leader with prior experience working with distressed organizations.

Initially Trish was hired by Please Touch as a consultant, with the intention of ultimately bringing her on as permanent CEO; a move which was made official in April 2016. Tasked with restructuring and revitalizing staff, as well as financially stabilizing the organization, Trish raised eight million dollars in just 12 short weeks. “The bigger the challenge, the more I enjoy it,” says, Trish, and the Please Touch Museum undertaking was just that.

Trish believes that she should never be the smartest person in the room and thus hires and surrounds herself with experts in their fields. Faced with a skeletal staff and a CFO who recently quit when she joined Please Touch, Trish hired the head of IT and a CFO whom she had worked with previously and slowly rebuilt the leadership team with people whom she trusts to drive the organization’s mission forward. Half of those she hired in the first four months of her tenure are no longer with the museum due to her brutal honesty about the new direction of the organization and her strong belief in having the right team in place. Trish also expanded the board of directors from six to 16 people, growing the range of expertise and diversity.

Prior to joining Please Touch, Trish ran an executive management consulting firm, advised the Philadelphia Orchestra for 18 months on a stronger business plan, and was CEO of Green Tree School & Services, an agency serving children and young adults on the autism spectrum. At Green Tree, Trish spent two years stabilizing the organization and avoided filing for bankruptcy. Before stepping down, she aided in Green Tree’s restructuring which included placing 280 children with other agencies, laying off one hundred employees, and meeting with each employee individually.  

Immediately upon taking the helm at Please Touch, Trish recognized that similar to the Orchestra and Green Tree, the organization not only required strong fundraising, “the easy part is the money,” she says, but a complete restructuring and new business model. She explains that the previous model was flawed and is what ultimately resulted in the debt and bankruptcy. In her first two weeks with Please Touch, Trish changed everything. She developed a five-year strategic plan, “Please Touch Museum 2020: Reimagining Play to Empower 21st Century Learners,” which reenvisioned the organization’s mission and promise to the Philadelphia community, created a lean business plan with a dashboard and bolted-financials to distribute to funders, a blueprint of what the new organizational structure would look like and board, program, and leadership diversification.

Trish’s strategic plan highlights the idea that due to societal and technological changes, as well as a movement towards nontraditional learning, there has been a redefinition of when, how, and where learning takes place. Please Touch has embraced this, recognizing that moving forward learning will be more self-directed, experiential, and social, nurturing skills to aid in children’s social-emotional development (Wellenbach & Traynor). 

A nurse in a past-life, Trish’s interest in Please Touch was born from a passion for fixing our education system. She believes that education is what prepares us all to become a valuable member of family and community; “it is important to invest at a young age to give one skills for a lifetime” she explains. Please Touch’s innovative method of learning through interaction and play is something that Trish feels is powerful and sets the museum apart from others of its kind, though she frequently visits other sites to gain inspiration and knowledge of what they could and should be doing better. “You don’t get stuff done without doing stuff stupidly,” she states.

A self-described “tough but fair” leader, Trish is intimidating, but treats her staff well and acknowledges that “if I don’t have a nickname, I haven’t worked hard enough.” Trish sees herself as a problem solver, an asker of provocative questions, and has tolerance for failure, but no tolerance for not learning. Despite her hard exterior, Trish’s compassion and soft-side for her employees, the communities Please Touch serves, and her family runs deep. A few weeks after she officially became CEO, the museum’s annual Storybook Ball was held, and Trish stood at the entrance, dressed as a princess with a wand, greeting every family that came through the doors.

Trish prides herself on the inclusivity of the museum, as well. She claims that the population that visits is the most diverse, both socioeconomically and culturally, in all of Philadelphia. Since joining Please Touch, the exhibit which Trish seems most excited about will be arriving in February 2019 thanks to a $300,000 grant from PEW Charitable Trusts. “America to Zanzibar,” initiated at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, will be an interactive way for children to learn about the experience of being Muslim in America based off of actual demographics from the Philadelphia area and research on children and empathy.

Though Trish acknowledges that she and the organization still have a long road ahead, “it takes half as long to get out as it took to get in,” she explains, they have already come a long way in reversing an almost detrimental circumstance as a result of a tremendous passion for the museum, its legacy, and providing impactful education to children. 

Trish boasts, “I have the best job in the city.” As a soon to be grandmother, nothing pleases her more than the idea of her grandchild on the playground bragging to their friends saying, “my grandma’s job has a carousel!” And just like that, Trish’s playful side comes out too.

A special thanks to Trish Wallenbach for her participation in the writing of this article.

Works Cited

Wellenbach, Patricia D., and Kristen Vieira Traynor. “Please Touch Museum 2020: Reimagining Play for 21st Century Learners.” Issuu, 25 Jan. 2017.

Every once in a while, you come across a leader who stands out. It's hard to describe what sets them apart. I think it is more like a "gut feeling." You just know it when you see it. They have the ability to connect with people in a way that transcends the intellectual and rational. They inspire us, and we are driven to follow them. I recently had the opportunity of interviewing Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen the founder of Give an Hour, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. After the first few minutes of talking with Dr. Van Dahlen, I immediately started getting that "gut feeling." Her energy, passion, and dedication towards the mission of Give an Hour was contagious. Learning about her story, how she tackles leadership, and her organization's vision for the future was compelling and insightful.

While growing up on the West Coast, Dr. Van Dahlen endured a traumatic childhood. Shortly after Dr. Van Dahlen was born, her mother suffered a psychotic break and received a diagnosis of schizophrenia. For the next several years her father attempted to get her mother help, but in rural California, during the 1960’s there was little help for her mother's condition. Eventually, her parents divorced, and her mother left when Dr. Van Dahlen was eight and she didn't see her again for more than 40 years. While being raised by her father, a WWII veteran, Dr. Van Dahlen experienced the death of a step-sister, the loss of her brother David to a drowning accident, and when she was 15 the loss of her step-brother from a rare illness. In the face of so much pain from these experiences, Dr. Van Dahlen was still able to find the potential for growth and desired to become a psychologist to help others in need. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland in 1991 and worked as a licensed clinical psychologist in the Washington, D.C., area for more than two decades. Immediately following September 11th, 2001, Dr. Van Dahlen wanted to help with the trauma that would follow this horrific event. It was during this troubling period that the idea of Give an Hour began to take shape. The catalyst to launch Give an Hour came later in 2004 while riding in the car with her daughter. On their way home, they passed a homeless veteran on the street asking for help. Dr. Van Dahlen's nine-year-old daughter turned and asked her mother how they could let something like this happen; he is just like grandpa. It was at that moment a career pivot was about to occur.  

Dr. Van Dahlen founded Give an Hour approximately one year later in 2005 when she encouraged mental health professionals to provide free services to U.S. troops, veterans, their loved ones, and their communities. As of today, the network has grown to nearly 7,000 providers, who have collectively given $22 million worth of services. One of Give an Hour's greatest contributions to date is their demonstrated scalable philanthropic model that provides a collective impact through volunteering by a network of mental health providers who donate their time and skills. By harnessing the expertise and generosity of these amazing citizens across our nation, Give an Hour provides those in need with help and hope. Looking into the future, Dr. Van Dahlen plans to expand Give an Hour's impact by providing its proven model of services for other needed populations in our society. 

Dr. Van Dahlen is simply a rock star. She has participated in discussions at the Pentagon, the White House, and before Congress to help shape a better future. In addition to her selection for the 2012 TIME 100, she also received the American Psychological Association's Presidential Citation and the 2013 Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship of the Manhattan Institute. Dr. Van Dahlen's success and Give an Hour's impact is possible because of her unique hybrid leadership style that leverages emotional intelligence and a teamwork mentality. It helps to be a psychologist, but she emphatically understands empathy and can read people's needs and desires. She just recognizes how to navigate the human element and bring out the best in individuals and organizations. At the same time, she understands how to build teams and broad coalitions to get a job done. At her core, she is a problem solver, a collaborator, and an innovator who is fortunately at the forefront of nonprofit leadership providing hope. 

There will always be pain and suffering and those in need of help and hope. Our Society could use more leaders like Dr. Van Dahlen to help change the trajectory of their lives for the better.  

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