June is Renée's last month with Northwest Health Foundation. She has been here since 2006, and we will miss her very much! Best wishes for your future, Renée!
Q. How did you end up at NWHF?
A. What attracted me to NWHF was the organization's mission to advance, support and promote health in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Prior to joining the Foundation, I worked at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization for 11 years, which provides a variety of social services for the refugee and immigrant community.
Health is an important aspect of creating thriving communities, and working at NWHF seemed like the next step in my efforts to create healthy opportunities, albeit in a completely different way. I went from working at a nonprofit organization providing necessary direct services for the community to collaborating with foundations, academia and nurse organizations on improving the quality of health services.
Q. What is the most important thing that you have learned since you have been here?
A. How important collaboration and relationship building are in order to move the needle. This was evident in the work of the Foundation and in Partners Investing in Nursing's Future (PIN). Practicing these skills, and trust building, are invaluable.
I also learned that it takes a LONG time for warm water to reach the third floor in our office building. So plan ahead if you're taking a shower after you workout at lunch. ;)
Q. What has been the biggest change, to you or the organization, in your years here?
A. The number of wrinkles I have now!
But regarding NWHF, I've been here for over nine years, and there have been a number of big changes over the years. NWHF's move to Old Town/Chinatown, the creation of the Aschenbrener Center for Philanthropy, transition to a new CEO, and the Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Initiative. These are all big changes aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Q. What will you miss most about NWHF and PIN?
A. Well, let's see. Is it the coffee? The traveling? The practical jokes? These will all be missed. But most of all, I will miss the people. I had the pleasure to work with some very talented, fun and caring individuals within the staff and the national PIN program. Whether they were in Oregon, the Marshall Islands, or on the East Coast, there are an amazing number of people out there working to create better health in our communities.
Q. What are your hopes for the future?
A. To see my son grow up into a loving, giving, happy and healthy human being. I also have hope that each person recognizes that they have the opportunity to create a ripple effect of kindness and caring that can change the world, even if it seems insignificant at the time.
Q. What is your favorite thing about Oregon summers?
A. Being outside and seeing so many people venturing out to play, walk and visit. The odds of running into your neighbors definitely go up when the sun comes out!
Q. What did you do during summer vacation when you were a kid?
A. I grew up in Eastern Oregon, and summer vacation was usually one of two things: driving around Oregon or Washington to visit family or going camping. It was a matter of being on your best behavior in a car for four to eight hours of driving through the Gorge in 90+ degrees with no AC, or running wild and getting dirty on the river banks in the mountains. Hmmm...
Q. What is your favorite cartoon character?
A. There are so many! Jimmy Neutron comes to mind. But from my youth, Underdog. I still have the Taco Time collectable glass in a box somewhere.
For more information about PIN, visit the PIN website.