Q&A with Founder and Executive Director of Saving Amy, Jennifer Kiernan

Describe your background and journey leading to your position as Saving Amy’s Founder and Executive Director.

My journey to founding Saving Amy was serendipitous at best. For 10 years, I worked for two Fortune 500 companies in sales. I then chose to stay home with my four children, and as a busy stay-at-home mom, I began doing inner transformation work, which I have done for the past twenty years.

Inner transformation work includes a profound exploration of individuals’ lives. Individuals undergo a transformative journey through the teachings of practices that cultivate self-awareness, prompting positive changes that help them move forward in life.

Approximately 13 years ago, I began volunteering at a local homeless shelter doing my inner transformation work, and that is where I discovered that most people who leave the shelter either fall back into homelessness or remain in poverty. I began helping a woman named Amy, and that is where the Saving Amy journey began. The work I did in sales so many years before, building territories, helped provide a roadmap for creating Saving Amy.

Are there specific strategies or skills that you believe are particularly beneficial for women in leadership roles?

My specific strategies and skills for leadership, in general, encompass transparency, autonomy, open communication, and, most importantly, a unified passion for making a difference in the lives of those we serve. I’m always open to listening to different perspectives and ideas regarding furthering our Saving Amy community.

In your experience, what are some challenges that individuals and communities face when trying to create a positive impact, and how can these challenges be addressed?

People often tell me that the world’s issues appear wide-ranging, and they don’t know where to start to create positive change in their communities. From my experience,  start at your point of passion. What ignites you? What gets you up in the morning? Once you know what moves you, start small. Test what works and what doesn’t work. My passion is helping others move forward in life. Saving Amy started with two families walking side-by-side with those we serve. We then began to understand the complexities of the issues, which helped us put solutions in place.

Building on the concept of servant leadership, how do you approach building and leading a team within a nonprofit organization to ensure a collaborative and impactful approach to community service?

My leadership style is servant leadership …lifting others to lead at their point of passion. I strive to connect my team to the areas in our organization that utilize their unique gifts and strengths. I often say, “Everyone at the table.” In other words, I value everyone’s opinion and perspective. Open communication, transparency, and relationships are key when providing leadership opportunities for my Saving Amy team, volunteers, community partners, and donors.”

Can you provide practical tips or advice for individuals looking to initiate positive change within their communities?

Identify Your Passion: Reflect on your passions and what motivates you. Finding a cause that resonates with you will make your efforts more meaningful.

Start Small: Start small and focus on making a difference in a specific aspect of your chosen cause. Taking incremental steps allows you to learn and adjust as you go.

Test and Learn: Experiment with different approaches to address the challenges within your community. Some ideas may work better, and learning from successes and failures is okay. Use this information to refine your strategies.

Collaborate and Build Relationships: Positive change often requires collaboration. Engage with like-minded individuals, local organizations, or community leaders who share your passion. Building a network allows you to leverage collective strengths and resources.

Understand the Complexity: Dive deep into the complexities of the issues you are passionate about. Gain a comprehensive understanding of the root causes and effects. This knowledge will help you develop more effective and sustainable solutions.

Implement Solutions: Once you have a solid understanding, implement solutions that address your community’s needs. Be adaptive and open to feedback, continuously refining your approach based on the evolving circumstances.

Share Your Vision: Inspire others by sharing your vision for positive change. Communicate the importance of community involvement and encourage others to join your cause. A shared vision can mobilize people and create a ripple effect.

The post Creating Saving Amy & transforming lives appeared first on Greater Phoenix Chamber.

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