By day, Sean Howard is the CEO of a global marketing and advertising corporation’s government practice. In his free time, he’s the volunteer chair of the board of directors for Give an Hour.
Like many others who volunteer for or donate to Give an Hour, Sean has a personal connection to mental health and thought it was important to use his background to help make a positive impact with the organization’s work.
As the final blog in our series on volunteers, Sean encourages people to give of themselves in such a way that is true to a cause for which they feel strongly. “I think people would be surprised to learn that with very little time, they can positively influence local organizations that affect their own communities and find it personally rewarding at the same time.”
If you’ve had a look at the 2021 Annual Report, you know that Give an Hour underwent a few changes over the past year under Sean’s leadership – namely the appointment of a new CEO, Dr. Trina Clayeux. As chair for just under a year, hiring a new CEO was Sean’s first major undertaking. He and the board sought the following attributes for a new CEO: the right entrepreneurial mindset; a collaborative, team-building approach; the ability to recognize the organization’s current position in the mental health space and see its potential; and a track record of growth and scale.
Which takes us to Sean’s next order of business … Give an Hour’s three-year strategic plan. No small task, Sean leads the sub-group charged with redefining the organization’s mission and focusing on future direction and growth. Thus far, the group surveyed Give an Hour staff, the board and other partners and stakeholders and analyzed those responses. They are in the market research phase now and are seeking to determine how we can help and where to find available funding. Also paramount is thinking outside of the box to other ways we can help people – in addition to one-on-one counseling – and what that might look like.
Sean believes Give an Hour can continue to help bridge the gap between the number of people needing help and the number of mental health professionals able to provide that help by initiating novel programs, tools and resources as potential solutions at varying levels of need. He said, “Going forward, we plan to continue doing great work but on a broader and grander scale to reach the most people possible.”
Forging Into the Future
According to Sean, resetting expectations and contributions and being aware of how the mental health space is evolving is the greatest challenge Give an Hour faces. But … He believes in the power of creativity and feels if everyone enjoys the freedom to have and express ideas that are allowed to grow and morph, the organization has a tremendous opportunity to balance this creativity with its passion for helping those in need of mental health services.
“Mental health affects us all,” said Sean. “I recognize this and so does the board and we are committed to continuing to chip away at the idea that mental health is as important as physical health. There is no shame in seeking mental health services.”
As the board continue with the strategic planning process and the realization dawns that the organization is poised for exponential growth, Sean is confident that there is no limit to Give an Hour’s potential.