Michelle Collage 2


By Tammi Pitzen, Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County

As I sit behind my computer staring at a blank screen I am very humbled and possibly somewhat overwhelmed.

Today I am writing about changes at the Children’s Advocacy Center.  Changes that bring on both feelings of happiness and deep sadness.  We are saying farewell to our Development Director, Michelle Wilson.  She is moving on to new adventures that, unfortunately for us, include a new job.

Michelle has been part of the CAC team for seven years.  Staying put for seven years in the same nonprofit is not something that happens very frequently.  I like to say the players are always the same, just where they sit at the table is different.

Many people recognize Michelle as one of the faces of the CAC.  Many people recognize Michelle as the person who raises revenue and rallies supporters for our agency.  Today I want to invite you to look deeper at Michelle’s contribution to this community.

Without Michelle’s tireless efforts the CAC would not have been able to grow our capacity to serve the children and families we serve.  Let that sink in a moment.  Being the Development Director is so much more than just raising funds and awareness.

Michelle has helped behind the scenes insure our staff have what they need in order to help abused children journey to healing.

Literally thousands of children in Jackson County have been impacted by the work Michelle has done behind the scenes.  Thousands of abused children have been able to get forensic interviews, therapy, mentoring opportunities, advocacy, and medical exams and begin to a journey of healing.  Thousands of children understand that they have value.  Thousands of children have the gift of knowing that their abuse does not have to define who they are.

Let’s change our lens and look at Michelle’s contribution from a different angle.  There are many professionals in Jackson County who work tirelessly to protect the children of Jackson County who have received specialized training as a result of Michelle’s work.  There are many professionals who were able to receive professional mentoring as a result of the funding secured through Michelle’s work.  This training and mentorship multiplies those thousands of children impacted by her work, probably at least tenfold.

There are countless Board members that Michelle mentored.  There are countless Board members that Michelle has helped recognize in themselves new skills and new strengths that they never knew they had.  Michelle has done the same for many staff members.

From a more personal place, I would like to thank Michelle for making my transition into the Director’s position two years ago so much easier than it could have been.

It is always difficult to move to a new community.  It is always difficult to take on a new leadership role.  It is always difficult to come in and have new ideas and try to execute them in a place where there is an established culture.  Michelle certainly helped to keep me on a pace that would help in my success in all those areas.

Tomorrow is Michelle’s last day with our Center as our Development Director.  In a blog or newsletter in the near future I will be introducing the person who will be taking on the role of Development Director.

But for today in this moment, I am appreciating and recognizing Michelle’s contribution to our community.  Today in this moment, I am recognizing that I am going to miss the daily check ins, the million emails, and the daily reminders to take care of myself.  Today in this moment I will watch Michelle spread her wings just as a newly transformed butterfly does after emerging from their cocoon ready to tackle new challenges.

Transition is part of the life cycle of any nonprofit.  We are definitely in another transition phase as committed staff members leave our agency to claim new adventures and new passions.  I take heart that with every goodbye, we are saying hello to someone with new energy and new ideas that will take us to the next phase of our life cycle.