Stephanie has been a Board Member since the beginning of 2021, and while she has only been a member for a short time, she is appreciating the chance to play a bigger role in her home community.
She first heard about The Open Door when one of her kids told her about the organization. They began regularly donating food and other supplies to the Eagan Pantry and she became aware of – and inspired by – the breadth of The Open Door’s activities and programming. She decided to join the board when another board member suggested that The Open Door could benefit from Stephanie’s work and interest in human resources and diversity, equity and inclusion, and she was excited to put that experience to use closer to home.
“I get to do a lot of work in different communities around the region, but most of that work is outside of Dakota County, so I was excited to join The Open Door and have a direct impact where I live,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie was able to meet most of the staff and other board members in-person for the first time only recently this summer because she joined the board during a time where virtual meetings and events were the main form of communication. While that hasn’t been ideal, it has given her the chance to see how deeply committed The Open Door staff and board have been to adapting and adjusting what they are doing to meet community needs during a difficult time.
“From the very first board meeting I attended, it was clear that this organization was client-centered and creative beyond what I already knew. I’m excited to connect more people in my professional and personal networks to The Open Door’s work,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie is proud of the work the board and staff members have done in the past year to grow The Open Door’s capacity and clientele, but she thinks it is important to remember why The Open Door has a lot of clients – because there is a great need for the services the organization provides.
“I think one of the ways we are most effective is acknowledging and building awareness about the needs that exist, but not to assume that we know how to best serve people. Instead, we keep asking the people that live here what they actually need,” Stephanie said.
One of the things Stephanie is most passionate about within her work is how meeting people’s basic needs can be the first step into an entirely new life for them. As a child of a single mother, Stephanie knows firsthand how food insecurity impacts every choice a person might make on any given day, and how having resources can completely change one’s day-to-day routine.
“I understand the value of paying attention to the really concrete things people need to keep their lives going. Food is such a basic building block for wellbeing and The Open Door’s focus on providing healthy options offers stability and possibility. And I am just really grateful to be able to be a part of that,” Stephanie said. When she’s not working or volunteering, Stephanie’s favorite activities are getting together with friends and family over a great meal, ideally with a book or two to discuss. She’s always planning her next adventure, whether it’s visits to family that are spread out coast to coast or college visits for her teenagers.
We are excited to see everything Stephanie will bring to The Open Door in the upcoming years!