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Behind the Scenes At GFC: A Quarterly Profile Series: Elise DeYoung

Elise DeYoung: National Operations Director

Elise DeYoung is certainly a Jill of all trades here at Girls For a Change.  She has been a corporate executive, a substitute teacher in special education, and is now the National Operations Director for GFC – and that's only the beginning of what Elise brings to the table of the GFC organization.

Right now, Elise is responsible for GFC Operations, or what she calls “the business end” of GFC.  She manages relationships with IT contract service providers, does all of the accounting and cash flow management for the organization, tracks donations and maintains relationships with governmental agencies.  She also manages all the aspects of Human Resources for GFC.

“We don't have a lot of down time,” she laughs.

Because of the many jobs that Elise does within GFC, she says that she allows others in the organization to do their job more effectively. She keeps the change happening for teams by providing all of our operations-she's the engine of this train of change.

“It is the details behind the scenes I think that facilitate our program people doing such a fabulous job of getting services out to our community and taking the business details out of that arena so that the creative energies of our program staff who are 'program scientists' to go out and make it happen!"

 Elise says that her favorite part of what she does on “the business end” is getting to see the outcome of the programs.

“Knowing that my strengths are in the details of behind the scenes and getting those pieces done so that they don't detract from the services we provide - I have ongoing regular interactions with everybody on staff so that part is pretty cool.”

Elise has been on staff for three years now, and because of her extensive background in the private sector, brings so many skills to the organization.

“I have a pretty strong business background, many years in the corporate world, and I think I bring that expertise to the organization.  I am very happy to be able to do that and to have the outcome of that be focused on community and on services rather than on making a profit,” she says.

Her background as a corporate executive also made Elise appreciate the foundation of GFC even more.

“One of the things I really, really value about our organization is I was a corporate executive for 15 years and it was very much a male dominated industry, which is not as true today, but coming to work in this environment in an organization that is woman managed and woman run, I think we're so much more effective (wink!) and I'm so pleased to have had that opportunity to be a part of that.  We don't have that in a lot of organizations.”

Elise is also very hopeful for the girls that GFC serves.

“The main thing I would like girls to achieve is the confidence and the skills so they know that they can make a difference in their communities, and in their own lives and the lives of their families.”

She is also very passionate about the work that GFC does and her unique contribution.

“It's an honor to provide some perspective in our organization in decisions or directions that we go, that representing a generation that came before most of our participants and our senior staff.  The excitement of seeing so many things that were unachievable in the '60s and how far we've come, but then also to acknowledge that even given how far we've come, how much more distance we have to go before girls are really going to be able to recognize and appreciate their worth.”

Outside of GFC, Elise's life doesn't slow down.  She is has been married for 23 years and is the mother of two boys, ages 18 and 20.

“My baby just graduated from high school, and my older son is autistic so I have the honor of parenting a special needs guy. So my family keeps me pretty busy.”

In addition to her family life, Elise is a trustee on Santa Clara Unified School District Board of Education and is very involved in the public school community.  She is involved with local governmental activities in terms of funding for schools and making policy decisions for schools.

At some point, even the busiest person has to take time for themselves, and in her free time, Elise enjoys gardening, needlework, and crocheting.

Elise is one of many people at GFC that work hard every day to empower girls to make a difference in their communities and their own lives.  She doesn't always get the spotlight for everything she does, but now is her time to shine and be recognized for the amazing difference that she makes in the lives of others.

-By Megan Fischer, GFC Social Media Intern

To pay your compliments to Elise or Megan, email here.

Behind The Scenes At GFC is a quarterly profile series by Megan Fischer, featuring the sometimes not so glamorous work of those individuals who keep Girls For A Change going strong. Megan is a journalism student at Colorado State University.

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