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Leader of the Month Q&A: Bridget McQuaide

Posted on 10 April 2017

This past week we sat down with out April Leader of the Month, Bridget McQuaide. Bridget is promoting the CARE Program, a northeast Ohio organization working across eight cities to help connect senior citizens with the resources they need to live safely and independently in their homes.

What is the best part of working for an up and coming organization such as the CARE Program?

I think the best part about working with the CARE Program is the realization that this program is going to help address a large range of unmet needs. The aging population is growing so fast but this gap in service (with regards to help with maintaining a home) is growing just as quickly! So the chance to help fix that and to help people remain as safe and independent as they possibly can is really awesome!

How has your experience with the CARE Program made you a better leader?

My experience with the CARE Program has made me a better leader by teaching me the importance of wearing many hats in order to get a job done. For some part of the day I will be working on coordinating volunteers, other parts will be dedicated to trying to increase awareness of the program, and the list keeps going. But I’ve learned that a willingness to fit and fill in with wherever help is needed most is crucial to being a successful leader.

Who is one leader that you have learned the most from up to this point and what have you taken away from them?

I have a two part answer for this! In my professional career so far with working on the CARE Program, one leader I have learned the most from is actually my boss, Stacey. She has taught me so much about how non-profits function and what needs to happen for them to be successful. She has also helped me work on expanding my own professional skills, and I definitely look to her for guidance and advice as I navigate the professional world!

The second answer that I have to this question is more personal. I don’t think I would have the courage to pursue any of this: the CARE Program, my own dreams and aspirations for my career, etc. if I hadn’t grow up watching and learning from my dad as a leader. He has taught me the value of cooperation and hard work, and how important it is to be part of team. You achieve more when you work together, and this is something my dad lives out every day and something that I try to embody in my own life as well.

What would you say to other young leaders who want to get involved in their communities but have yet to find a way to make an impact?

I would say to not be afraid of taking the leap by making a call or sending an email to a group or organization that has similar interests or values to you so that you can get involved with their mission. Small jobs that are done well will go a long way in making an impact, and I think that is something really important to remember. You don’t have to do anything huge or flashy or plan some successful event to make an impact, so don’t be afraid to start small!

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