40 From Our 40: Karin Ogden

Karin Ogden with Randy Shields (L) and Gil Peri (R)

Karin Ogden with Randy Shields (L) and Gil Peri (R)

RMHCCIN staff & board members were invited to ask their most pressing questions.

From Claire Meade, Guest Services Manager:
What one word would you use to describe your hopes for the future while you’re CEO of RMHCCIN, and why?

Connection. Throughout the House’s 40 years, there have been so many groups and individuals that have shared their support. Each one of those groups made an impact and fueled sparks that have endured. When I ask, why people do what they do what they do, I hear, “I came here with my church, or my company came and fixed dinner. Connections fueled the sparks that have nurtured and grown this organization to what it is today. My goal for our team is to reignite the sparks and grow new ones.

From Julia Elliott, Guest Services Manager:
What is the greatest impact you feel that you’ve made throughout your time at RMHCCIN so far?

I think our staff team is terrific. With each new person that we recruit, we get stronger and more deliberate. Compassion flows through our work and each person is passionate about bringing their best for the good of our families and our supporters.

From Nickie Cornett, Database Administrator:
What made you want to work for RMHCCIN?

Thirty years ago, I became a volunteer. Every other Thursday night I worked. I remember the evening house manager, Vonda Tyler. She would have a list a mile long for us. We’d tackle it all and get it done. We’d always find time to laugh and have a little fun too. I looked forward to it. The job posting was for a compassionate leader; that called to me.

From Karen Doe, Director of Operations:
How do you see RMHCCIN adapting to serve families as healthcare continues to evolve over time?

We often say the tragic reality of the work we do is that children will never stop getting sick or injured. Our hospital partners will continue to make tremendous advancements to save children’s lives. I’d like to see RMHCCIN make advancements alongside the hospital, particularly when it comes to serving families where they are, in ways that align with their needs. That could come to fruition in many ways; perhaps we’ll be offering different types of room options for different cases. I see us doing more so the entire family can stay and be wrapped in supports, the hallmark of an RMHC experience.

From Patti Cooper, Facilities Manager:
What has presented you the biggest challenge since joining the RMHCCIN team? or What has surprised you the most about working here?

I knew we had great volunteers, but I didn’t know that there were some talented individuals that championed specific jobs: a volunteer that does preventative maintenance on the vacuum cleaners, someone specific that takes care of the pop machines and volunteer handymen. The unique talents that each person brings, and the depths of their capacity has been my biggest joy. I love the individual and group contributions.

From Meredith Smith, Evening Guest Services Manager:
What is your favorite part about living in Indianapolis?

I come from a small town, and I love that Indianapolis has all the amenities of a city with a small-town, friendly feel. Talk to someone for just a few minutes and you’ll find you have someone or something in common.

From Lee Ann Devine, Development Manager:
Since joining the RMHCCIN team, what one experience has impacted you the most?

Getting to know the families has been my honor and privilege. They are beautiful and strong beyond words. They inspire me to be better, do more, and to appreciate everything about my life.

From Hannah Rose Ogden, Daughter:
You’ve accomplished a great deal in your life. When you reflect, what have you done that makes you the proudest? Why that achievement?

Besides my wonderful kids that are delightfully unique and independent? When I graduated from college, I had a business degree, and I had a goal of becoming a pharmaceutical sales representative, at Lilly, of course. I fell into a job working for a non-profit organization on a part time basis and I loved it. I remember thinking, “this is crazy; I can get paid to help people…” A nonprofit career had never been in my plans—it hadn’t occurred to me. Not long after, a friend gave me a call and told me about an opportunity at a YMCA as the Membership and Marketing Director. It was the job for me and launched a wonderful 25-year career.

From Kaitlyn Ogden, Daughter:
If your life was a movie, who would you want to play you?

Linda Belcher, from Bob’s Burgers. Linda and I share so many similarities; mostly our undying desire to help people. We’ve both recognized over the years, that we need to reign it in a bit and usually the best way to help is to just listen and let the person solve their problem on their own which is much more effective.

From Alex Ogden, Son:
Those closest to you say you go out of your way to do good and to help others. What’s the driving force that motivates you to set this example?

The world has always seen chaotic times. I remember a time in the 80s when things seemed so bleak. It was the time of the AIDs epidemic, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the country was in a recession; people were losing their farms and homes. I remember bemoaning all that wasn’t right in the world and asking a friend of my brother’s who was a Franciscan monk, what can one person do to make the world better? His answer stayed with me and reminds me when the world seems crazy, “Make your own corner of the world the best it can be.” Those words simplify my life and give me direction when all seems to be spinning out of control.

From Robin Chalmers, Events Manager:
You have been involved in a lot of meal nights at the House, prepping and preparing with groups and families. What is a favorite memory from that?

The night we served childhood favorites: mini corndogs, lasagna, macaroni and cheese and applesauce. All of it was provided by our partners at Second Helpings, so it didn’t cost us a thing. The ovens worked perfectly, and everything was done on time! It was fun to watch families’ expressions when we shared what the choices were. I also loved the nights that moms, Sarah, and Cheryl cooked their favorites for us. We need to do that again.

From Mary Friend, Volunteer Resources Manager:
How has your time at the House touched or changed you?

Getting to know the families has been my honor and privilege. They are beautiful and strong beyond words. They inspire me to be better, do more, and to appreciate everything about my life.

From Timeshia Keys, Director of Administration:
As you write your name in the history of RMHCCIN, how will you know you were successful in leading the chapter?

Ideally it will be less about the numbers we served, but more about the depth of how we served each person. My mentor, Karen Campbell, has said on more than one occasion, “I’d rather serve 51 families well than 100 poorly.”

From Jill Rose, RMHCCIN Board Member:
What was the one thing that came as a pleasant surprise to you after you started as CEO at the RMHCCIN?

The generosity of spirit. It comes in so many wonderful ways. That love has sustained us for 40 years. From pop tabs, McDonalds donation boxes, individual fundraisers, dinners, and contributed revenue for operating and capital expenses and endowment; it has helped us do what we do every year. We could not do it without partners and donors.

From Lisa Neice, RMHCCIN Board Member:
If there was one wish that you had for the future of the House/Charity and money was no object, what would it be?

If money were no object, we would build a House large enough that we’d never need a waitlist, with a wide variety of rooms that cater uniquely to each family, with more amenities that make them even more like home. We would offer an expansive kitchen to make it possible for more volunteers to come and provide meals and snacks. I would hire a team of social workers to assess and address families’ needs, better preparing them for their post-stay journey. I would build in follow-up funding so families’ essential needs are fulfilled when they head home. Last, we’d have a robust technology backbone that allows us to collect data and base our decision making on that data.

From Scott Maybee, RMHCCIN Board Member:
What is your why?

My “why” is to do what I can do to help people develop to their God-given potential. If they have a goal and I can help, I want to do that. I love helping people to discover things about themselves that they’ve not seen. Every person has gifts; sometimes it takes someone else to help them see them.

From Michael Hillsman, RMHCCIN Board Member:
What is your vision for what you want RMHCCIN to look like 40 years from now?

In the next 40 years, I think we can be in a place where we are offering a facility that caters to the unique needs of each family we serve, with programs nimble enough to better address those needs. When a family leaves, I want them to feel supported and more resilient than ever – ready to tackle the long road to recovery that starts when they get home.

Along with that, with hard work and dedication, I think we can have the best volunteer program in the region. We can be the place of choice when it comes to donating time.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to continue to strive for excellence in stewarding our donors and cultivating new donors. Every time someone donates, from $1 to $1,000, they should rest assured they are making a real impact and that their contributions are appreciated and used for the greatest good.

From Mac, Chief Cheer Officer, Good Boy:
What do you love most about me?

Aww, buddy, I love everything about you. I love that you have a personality—you do what you want when it doesn’t matter. When it matters, you show up. When a child, a mom, or a dad needs a hug or a pet, you are there. You are one of my favorite teammates. Quit eating people’s lunches.

Curated by Adam Lowe

Heart & Hearth Winter 2022