“Change is hardest at the beginning, messiest in the middle and best at the end.”
— Canadian writer Robin S. Sharma
CINCINNATI (September 7, 2022) — Mary Morand is a catalyst for change. At Morand McKay, the leadership and team coaching business she runs with John McKay, she helps corporate leaders and teams learn how to make adjustments that increase their effectiveness over time.
So, it’s not surprising that she approaches philanthropy in much the same way. She supports charitable organizations – including United Way of Greater Cincinnati – that are focused on systemic changes aimed at creating long-term solutions to community problems.
“I do due diligence of what (organizations) do, why they do it, how it works, where the funding goes,” she says. “And then I combine that with a little bit of heart, and I say, what matters to me?”
The Tocqueville Society member says United Way checks several boxes that are important to her. “I’ve had good experiences in how United Way has thought about community and how United Way evolves its thinking over time. I don’t perceive it to be a static organization. I look at an organization that can continue to change as a strong organization.
“Now, especially, I really believe in the leadership. I believe in what (President/CEO) Moira (Weir) is trying to do. With all the change that is happening in communities, there’s a huge opportunity to bring people together to effect the changes you’re striving for.”
Bringing people together is key, she stresses.
“In my own life, I’ve been successful when I’ve been connected with and in partnership with others,” says Mary, who has 30 years of corporate leadership experience. “And I understand that everything is connected. We can solve things when we work together.”
That’s as true for business leaders aspiring for greater success as it is for nonprofits seeking solutions to deep-seated community problems.
“I think having all voices represented at all levels of community change is a requirement,” Mary says. “And if that doesn’t happen, we won’t have change that is comprehensive and sustained. All voices have to be present, and I see United Way doing that.”
Indeed, United Way has made it a priority to listen and co-create solutions with those who have experienced poverty and inequitable opportunities.
Her experience as a leadership and team coach has taught Mary that change doesn’t always happen easily.
“Sometimes we say, ‘Yes, we have to change. You go first.’ It’s like a traffic jam. You sit on the highway and if everybody could just move at the same time, we could all get out of there, but that doesn’t happen. So how we work together is critical.
“When we work with teams, we definitely see that. What can you do together that you cannot do apart? That means we all have to be in, creating new dialogue, generating a different conversation.”
United Way has done the work of listening to community voices to inform its investments in 86 partners working toward true community change. The result: “A belief we can achieve more than we have in the past,” Mary says. “I feel like we’re primed for that – ‘we’ meaning the community, United Way and donors.”
“I was fired from a fast-food restaurant when I was 16 for reasons that were unjustified. I was like, OK, the world’s not really fair. But if I hadn’t been fired, I never would have gone to my next fast-food job, where I met my husband, Kenny, of 35 years.”
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