Community Shares of Mid Ohio is taking the month of March to highlight the women leading our member charities for making a difference in the community as part of Women's History Month.
Teresa A. Trost, Executive Director of Community Shares of Mid Ohio
How long have you been in your current position?
How did you decide to pursue a career in the nonprofit field?
Mine was not a decision, I simply answered an ad in the newspaper (does that give my age away??) It was during the course of the interviews that I said, "I want this job" and have never left the field.
What do you see as the barriers, obstacles, and/or challenges? How did you or how do you recommend that these be overcome?
Women are usually masters at multi-tasking, assessing situations, making decisions on the fly, while men typically are not comfortable with opening themselves up and making mistakes. It is generally thought that women tend to bring more vulnerability, authenticity and transparency to our jobs than our male counterparts. These are highly desired traits in the nonprofit world, but viewed by the majority of our male dominated work force as being weak, unable to make hard decisions and too tenderhearted. While women tend to view their job as a "part" of who they are, men tend to think of the job as who they are. So again, in a still male dominated work force, women are seen as not having the drive and dedication to get the job done. These are societal norms and in most cases, cultural behavior patterns, which we all have to work harder at viewing all of these traits as "desirable" and "worthy."
How do you plan to help the next generations?
I think that we, as women leaders, have to ensure that future generations, both male and female, view each other and our approaches as necessary and equal in getting the job done. We also have to work hard at changing the public perception that working in nonprofit should be paid less for the same skills and education.
Would you encourage the young women in your life to pursue a career in nonprofit? Why or why not?
I would, IF I believed she had the heart of a servant, for nonprofit really is about serving others, working to right wrongs, to educate, to provide, to make equitable, safe and healthy. My own opinion is that you cannot be a good leader, unless you can be a good servant first.
Your best piece of advice for women leaders, now or in the future is:
Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot, should not or will not be successful.