Peggy Anderson: Nonprofit Woman Leader Creating a Better Central Ohio

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. 

Peggy Anderson, Chief Operating Officer of AIDS Resource Center OhioHead shot of Peggy Anderson, Chief Operating Officer of AIDS Resource Center Ohio

How long have you been in your current position?

5 years

How did you decide to pursue a career in the nonprofit field?

I am a social worker and my belief in social justice guides my life. With the experience of direct work with the community, I found my strengths were focused around macro issues. I can work with a system and make changes. Moving in to administrative work was a perfect fit for me.

What do you see as the barriers, obstacles, and/or challenges? How did you or how do you recommend that these be overcome?

As our company grew, I needed to grow with it. I firmly believe that you cannot stand still and not improve your knowledge and skills. At 39, I started a second Master's program in Health Care Administration. To remain a successful leader in the nonprofit community, it is imperative to be a business person as well. Too often, nonprofit staff believe that we are different and do not need to run like a business. That only sets the organization up for failure.

How do you plan to help the next generations?

I often talk with young both external and internal professionals to talk about career goals, and if they ask, provide mentoring. I value the next generation's ideas about the future. If you believe the next generation cannot do it better than you, an opportunity to be part of the future has been lost. I just assume they will be do it better because they will have access to resources that are not currently in play.

Would you encourage the young women in your life to pursue a career in nonprofit? Why or why not?

I would and I do! The work is rewarding , and if you plan your career path in a way that can be thoughtful, reasonable, and focused, you can reach a leadership position and garner a higher income. One of the key steps is to find a mentor who will be honest with you and not just give you a trophy for participating.

Your best piece of advice for women leaders, now or in the future is:

Find a mentor who you want be when you grow up. Find several who bring something different to the table. I still have them today, and I reach out when I need a reality check or advice. They do not always have to be a woman; however, at least one should be in order to give you that perspective.

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