LAKEWOOD—For some individuals, retirement offers a second chance to really do something worthwhile — whether it’s volunteering in their communities, going back to school, starting their own businesses, or some other personal or professional achievement. Wells Fargo believes that sometimes, those individuals achieve something extraordinary, worth celebrating.
Helen McGovern, Emergency Food Network’s Executive Director, ended a successful career as a commercial realtor and public servant in Lakewood to steer the organization that serves as the hub of Pierce County’s emergency food system. Helen’s second-half success comes from ensuring no person goes hungry in Pierce County, WA.
Helen’s journey towards nonprofit executive leadership came with a nudge from her friend and Director of the YWCA, Miriam Barnett. As McGovern pondered her next big life decision, EFN’s long-serving director was stepping down. Barnett encouraged McGovern to apply. She says the decision just felt right.
Since taking the job in April of 2009, the demand for emergency food in Pierce County has increased 43% as the economy worsened. Are feeding programs report an average of 147,000 visits each month. EFN supplies 80% of all emergency food distributed in the county, and the increase in demand coincided with a decrease in the quantity and quality of food donations. McGovern responded by leading the food system’s efforts to increase efficiency and by emphasizing purchasing food, rather than counting on donated items, to stabilize the system. In two years, EFN has increased the amount of food distributed from 11.7 million pounds to 14.1 million annually. For every $1 EFN receives, they distribute $12 worth of food.
As a result of McGovern’s leadership, EFN has kept pace with increasing demand while growing their budget and the amount of food distributed by roughly 30%. “It has been both an honor to have been give the opportunity to lead this valuable organization and to have been recognized for our hard work,” said McGovern.
Each year, Wells Fargo seeks to inspire others by identifying, recognizing, and celebrating the remarkable achievements of those age 50 and over. They choose three individuals from seven states as Second-Half Champions. These award winners look at the second half of life in ways individuals don’t traditionally associate with our pre-retirement and retirement years. While many of hit 50 and prepare to slow down and relax, Wells Fargo’s Second-Half Champions award winners have chosen to begin anew in ambitious endeavors and accomplish awe-inspiring feats.
Other winners include Luanne Isom Mills, a retired teacher who went from being a happily light exerciser to a seriously competitive athlete and holds world records in her age group for indoor rowing., and Claire Anderson—once an accountant and executive director until sudden blindness shed light on Claire’s second-half career as a motivational speaker and author.Print This Post