“Goodbye,” said the country mouse, “You do, indeed, live in a plentiful city, but I am going home where I can enjoy my dinner in peace.” -The City Mouse and the Country Mouse
I was recently hired as Hedgebrook’s Development Associate. When I first started thinking about my career trajectory, I was certain that my focus was going to be education and programming for the arts. My undergraduate degree is in Theatre and I have always been passionate about bringing theatre to audiences of all ages. It soon became evident to me, however, that development is what actually makes me the most excited.
It is a common perception that development is about raising money. And while grant writing and fundraising are a large part of the job, at its core, development is all about relationships. I will be taking a class in resource development this summer and look forward to using what I learn to expand Hedgebrook’s reach in local, national and international communities. I cannot wait to start developing those relationships.
Hedgebrook has a unique organizational structure. There is the Whidbey Island office, located adjacent to the retreat. In addition, the marketing, communications and development office is housed in the Grand Central Building in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. I live on Whidbey Island. When I tell people about my new job, they often assume that I am going to move to Seattle.
The commute from Whidbey to Seattle may seem daunting to some, but I love it. How many people get to say that they take both a boat and a train to work? Or walk past a waterfall garden?
When asked if I prefer the Whidbey or Seattle Hedgebrook, the answer is complicated. The beautiful retreat and the core Writers in Residence program is at the heart of the organization. I am reminded of a paper I submitted for a fall quarter class, in which I likened the structure of a nonprofit to the circulatory system: “The circulatory system prevents disease and stabilizes the organism. It keeps the life-blood flowing to the most important organ: the heart.”
The work we do in Seattle helps support Hedgbrook’s heart. I am honored to be part of that circulatory system. And at the end of the day, I physically get to return to the island where the heart is housed. This is all to say that while I prefer working in the Seattle, I would rather have dinner on Whidbey. Just like the country mouse.