Monday Morning Meet Your Leaders – Dawn Doherty

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Dawn Doherty
Executive Director
The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide

1. What is one of the most important qualities of a great leader?

One of the most important qualities of a great leader is balance. I believe there are so many aspects of leadership that require balance: time, responsibility, relationships, expectations. There is no shortage of items on your “to do” list and the ability to balance (prioritize) is very helpful; in addition to balancing what is delegated to other members of your team. Balancing relationships as a leader is vital – it is incredibly beneficial to have close relationships with your staff, board, volunteers and donors, but there need to be a balance of respect, friendship and boundaries. Balancing realistic expectations (staff ability, revenue goals, etc.) with optimistic goals is also helpful in achieving success.

2. How does your organization take our community to the next level?

The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide takes our community to the next level by working with many stakeholders to develop competent, caring communities. We know that many individuals who are struggling will show warning signs – by involving the entire community in teen suicide prevention education, the members of the community will be aware of the warning signs of suicide, know it is ok to ask someone directly and know the resources to help someone in need. SPTS does this through a number of different pathways including programs for teens, presentations for parents and the many trusted adults in a teen’s life, training for school staff and mental health providers, and through positive community messages and partnerships. Working to decrease the stigma around mental health issues, and specifically suicide, SPTS is dedicated to being a catalyst for the paradigm shift where everyone knows that it is okay not to be ok.

3. What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

I love to spend time with my family – even better if it is at the beach!

4. What is your favorite food/recipe and why?

My favorite recipe has been in the family for decades: “Jeannie’s Iowa Ice Cream Cake.”  I love this recipe because it is delicious, but more so because it reminds be of all of the incredible holidays, bbqs and gatherings with family and friends where everyone loves to dig in to this dessert.

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