In the midst of juggling work, family, and household responsibilities, finding the time to volunteer can often be a daunting task. It’s not uncommon for giving back to our communities to slip down our priority lists. But how does one manage to contribute while being a busy executive and a dedicated mom? To uncover the secret, we caught up with FirstService Residential’s Market President of South Florida Condo and HOA, Stephanie Parker, an accomplished professional who has been actively involved with Children’s Harbor, an organization she has passionately supported for the past four years.
How do you juggle work, mom life and volunteer service?
Extreme time management, “be here now” when in the moment, and fierce prioritization. (small stuff that I deem has little/no meaningful impact on work, family or community gets little time from me.) I also embrace empowering others – which is one reason my kids are so independent – empowerment because a life skill!
How did you learn about Children’s Harbor?
I became friends with the founder, Bill Mahoney, and attended a few events as a guest – I was completely moved by the agencies purpose and mission, and impressed by the leadership team and board that was in place.
You’ve been a board member for 4 years, currently serving as vice chair. What other volunteer roles have you held, and what type of work have you done for them?
My primary contribution has been as a board member and bringing my network to the organization through inviting them to our many events. I’m excited that we put today a day of service, this Friday July 21, as a part of FirstService Summer of Service – and we have 24 associates who have volunteered to clean-up the residential campus together!
What do you like best about your work with them?
TOUGH QUESTION. The teens we serve are those who have been left behind…until they get to the Harbor. What I find most rewarding is knowing that I can be of service to the CEO and leadership team and staff of the agency so that they can be of direct service to the kids – putting my strategy, coaching and execution skills to work to support those who are truly called to serve these children. SO HUMBLING keeps me deeply rooted in reality.
What advice would you give to someone looking to find their own Social Purpose?
If something moves you to tears, incites anger, gives you goosebumps, scares you a little or makes you want to know more – get involved right now. The causes that are your true calling will reveal themselves to you. Don’t put pressure on yourself to pick the right thing, to do “a lot” and to do it forever. I have supported various charities in various ways over the years both in Canada and the US and they were the right fit for me at the time, and I for them. You cannot get it wrong!
To learn more about Stephanie’s philosophy of service, check out this video she created with her daughter Lulu.
Established in 1996, Children’s Harbor is a nationally accredited child welfare organization that is dedicated to three very specific areas within the foster care system:
Keeping siblings together while they are in foster care Strengthening families who are in crisis within our community and Guiding teens who have “aged out” of the foster care system alone Children’s Harbor keeps children safe while their families are given the opportunity to heal. If it is no longer possible for a child to return home, Children’s Harbor becomes their family, providing support and resources until they can reach a place of independence and self sufficiency.