Melanie Duppins, Vice President of Human Capital and Teacher Outreach, DonorsChoose.org
When I was younger, I dreamed of being the President of the United States. I had big dreams and knew that I would make a difference in the career path that I chose. As the Vice President of Human Capital and Teach Outreach at DonorsChoose.org, I am able to make a difference in the lives of our students, teachers and members. The biggest difference I have been able to make was last year when I assisted a team through a redesign process at my organization. Hearing how much my colleagues liked their new structure and how it’s helped them puts the wind in my sails.
OD Network has opened many doors for me this past year, including access to the community and how willing leaders are to listen to ideas from new practitioners and students. I wasn’t expecting so much openness and willingness to engage. Through OD and OD Network, I am able to unlock the genius within organizations, rather than tell them how to solve their own challenges. By creating environments where employees can thrive, give input, and influence decisions, I give the organization the best chance of success - and give people a greater opportunity for impact and meaning in their work.
Though we all have busy lives and we are juggling many projects, I would suggest for practitioners at all levels to take a minute and think about their careers and connections. You know more than you think you do; whether you have been in OD for two months or 20 years, you have been a consumer of human systems your whole life. Once you develop the skills to reflect on your experiences and use of self, you can see throughout your life how the theories we practice align with your own experiences of managing change and working with people.
Even though OD is a major part of my life, I have been able to create other passions and hobbies. Right now, I cannot get enough of Selma (2014). I thoroughly enjoy when Ralph Abernathy is encouraging Martin Luther King Jr. to continue his work. As someone who strives to give encouragement to others, those moments were particularly meaningful to me. In addition to Selma, I have a passion for prayer. My spiritual life is a power source for me and allows me to see situations clearly and act with integrity. Lastly, one fun tidbit about me is that I cannot live without hardcopy books. If they disappeared off the planet, I don’t know what I would do!