Interview with Carol Washington
On today’s episode I sit down with Carol Washington, the Chief Operating Officer of Life’s Work Pittsburgh, and a woman who has dedicated her own life’s work to helping those in need. As a graduate of IUP’s Eberly College, Carol started her career down the accounting/finance path, ultimately determining it was not the right fit. Through a corporate merger, she found her way into human resources, that paved the right path into a career in nonprofit work.
Working in the nonprofit industry with Northshore Community Alliance is a whole new game for Carol, but one where she truly found her passion. Through helping families in-home through times of crisis, Carol truly feels the positive impact she is making on her community. However, such industry is not without its corporate-like issues. Through the Northshore Community Alliance’s decision to merge with Life’s Work, Carol discusses the bittersweet decision to merge these two organizations, and the effect it had on the future of the non-profit. She also speaks to several of the mentors she has had over the course of her career, and how they have shaped her to be the strong leader she is today.
Through her various mentors and sponsors, Carol has also learned what it takes to be a successful leader and mentor to others. Her career has enabled her to experience various management styles, honing in on the techniques she admires and eliminating those she has disagreed with. We discuss a learning experience that really molded Carol’s outlook on how to be a positive leader to others. As COO of Life’s Work, Carol prides herself in knowing her employees closely and the lives they lead, from significant others, to children or caregivers. It is through this detailed level of care and understanding that Carol has risen to become the successful leader she is today.
About Carol Washington
Carol Washington the Chief Operating Officer of Life’s Work Pittsburgh.
[9:23] Educational background and career history
- IUP grad, joined ROTC
- First job as accountant for Mellon Bank, knew that wasn’t end goal
- Worked with Thrift Drug aka Rite Aid in finance department
- Spent 8+ years in human resources
- Good segue to becoming leader in nonprofit
- Joined Northshore Community Alliance
[15:03] Northshore Community Alliance mission
- Focused on servicing families in home that were in crisis
- Constantly engage with the family along the way towards repair
[16:21] Decision to merge with Life’s Work
- Bittersweet to merge
- Rigorous business decisions she has been involved in
[18:43] Carol’s mentors and their impact
- Derek Wilson owner of Wilson Group that provides business solutions from technology perspective
- Gave Carol tough love and feedback as a young leader
- Deborah Valentine Gray, IUP Director of Regional Advancement, exposed Carol to difference between mentor and sponsor
[22:35] A learning experience for Carol
- Only female VP Jan Meikle for Thrift Drug was very tough and had a lot of respect
- VP marked up a report with a red pen and ripped apart report 3-4 times
- Carol resubmitted the report in its original form
- Experience took chip off shoulder, was learning experience
[27:04] How Carol mentors others
- Doesn’t like those that bark orders or is too disconnected from mission
- Takes pride in knowing all employees and their personal details
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