Maureen Baker

Principal for a Day

posted by
Maureen Baker,
Manager for Individual Giving
Musical Instrument Museum

I had the pleasure of serving as Principal for a Day at Arizona School for the Arts (ASA) on October 27 via a program put on by HandsOn Greater Phoenix. The newly revived/revamped program this year paired about 25 business leaders and principals, and is designed to foster more meaningful, longer-term relationships between the participants.

I became aware of this opportunity through my participation in Valley Leadership and was delighted to be selected and paired with Leah Fregulia Roberts, head of school/CEO of ASA. This pairing speaks directly to my passion for the arts – my day job is as manager for individual giving at the Musical Instrument Museum, and I serve on several music-related boards, as well as perform as a flutist and singer. My Principal for a Day experience began with a great training session led by HandsOn Greater Phoenix president & CEO Rhonda Oliver and youth program manager Sharifa Rowe which covered everything from the similarities and differences within the operating frameworks of schools and businesses to education in Arizona today to the building blocks of an effective partnership.

The Intangible Rewards of Nonprofit Work

posted by
Maureen Baker,
Manager for Individual Giving
Musical Instrument Museum

As a member of the board of YNPN (Young Nonprofit Professionals Network) Phoenix, I have been fortunate to cross paths with some extraordinary emerging leaders, facilitators, mentors, and nonprofit sector thought leaders. As YNPN Phoenix's annual member retreat approaches, I am reminded of a powerful experience from last year's retreat that still resounds with me today.

At the 2010 retreat, we benefited from the guidance of two fantastic facilitators in Raquel Gutiérrez and Cassandra O'Neill, who asked participants to bring with them an object that represented the reason they became involved with the nonprofit sector. As we sat in a circle on that first evening and shared the stories of our objects, I was struck by the themes that emerged as to how and why each of us had pursued work or volunteer service in the nonprofit sector, and also to what kept us committed to that service. At the conclusion of hearing everyone's stories, we were each asked to pick up an object that represented the story that had resonated with us the most and to silently return it to its owner.

Several people were inspired by passion for a cause that sprang from personal experience. Take me, for example — my object was a tin whistle (a more portable representation of my primary instrument, the flute). I grew up in a musical family, was fortunate enough to attend schools with excellent arts programs, majored in music in college, and still perform frequently today. I have had such a positive experience with music that I have been driven to share its joys with as many people as possible. In that pursuit, I have worked for a range of nonprofit organizations focused on music, including an orchestra, a music education organization, and now the Musical Instrument Museum here in Phoenix. I believe deeply in the work that each of these organizations undertakes, and feel extremely fortunate to be able to earn a living doing something that also brings me fulfillment.

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