Instead of writing about my perspective on the response I got when approaching someone in the non-profit world about becoming a director of operations for a non-existent clinic without any previous examples... I thought it might be best to hear it straight from the horse's mouth. Below is a guest excerpt from our Director of Operations (DOO), Ester Harrison.
When Dr. Cris approached me about her goals for a direct care clinic, I was incredibly intrigued, but still a little confused. Once she explained the who, why, and hows, it all made so much sense. The benefit to this patient population was so clear. As we talked about the logistical structure of the clinic, so many things she mentioned were aspects of management that I had already experienced in my nonprofit background. The largest similarity being that whoever was going to be the Director of Operations for her clinic needed to be able to wear a lot of hats and learn while doing. This was going to be a completely revolutionary undertaking. Figuring out new methods, solutions, and being able to change structures at the drop of a hat was inevitable. Anyone with a nonprofit background will tell you, adapting to change and wearing many hats is a requirement. In fact, "additional duties as needed" is 75% of every nonprofit job I have ever held.
The more Dr. Cris described her vision and the more research I did, the more excited I became to start something so innovative that had the potential to help so many people. The main reason I had first ventured into nonprofit in the first place was to make a difference, right? However, I had always had an entrepreneurial drive to help start something new that wasn't being fulfilled in my current career path. Honestly, I leapt at the opportunity to be able to be part of this undertaking. As with any new and exciting venture, the risks involved were pretty standard. So I made the switch from nonprofit to for-profit as the Director of Operations. Then Dr. Cris and I put our heads together to knock out the next steps...there were plenty.