Monday Morning Meet Your Leaders – Mary Jo Buchanan
Mary Jo Buchanan, LCSW, MPA
Ocean Partnership for Children, Inc.
1. What is one of the most important qualities of a great leader?
I think one of the most important qualities of a great leader is persistence. First, I think a great leader needs to be persistent in the mission of the organization. These days when dollars are so tight, mission drift can occur so easily, hence the need for sticking to the mission like glue! Second, a great leader needs to be persistent in keeping in touch with the needs of the people being served, whether youth or seniors or anywhere in between. Leaders sometimes get a bit isolated from that and need to be persistent in hearing that client/consumer voice. Also, a great leader needs to be persistent in all areas of Executive Director/CEO responsibility, including working with the Board, staff, donors and the community. The more seasoned I become in my leadership career, the more persistent I find myself needing to be!
2. How does your organization take our community to the next level?
Ocean Partnership for Children changes lives of the most vulnerable children in our community, which creates significantly impact. We now help over 1,000 youth every day overcome mental health, substance use and developmental challenges so that they can stay at home, in school and in their community. Over this past fiscal year, we have had a 21% rate of growth in the number of children we are helping. That is certainly taking Ocean Partnership for Children to the next level in the community. Helping these youth heal impacts all of Ocean County in so many ways, from increasing the numbers of youth staying with their families (rather than in out-of-home treatment settings), to increasing the options for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Ocean Partnership for Children works hard day in and day out to help our community’s most important assets and our future – our children and youth!
3. What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
There are two things I love to do in my spare time: reading (I love anything true crime or mysteries) and spending time on the bay in our old, but still running, boat. And when I can combine the two by reading on the boat, I am truly in heaven.
4. What is your favorite food/recipe and why?
Since moving to the shore, my favorite food is Kohr’s ice cream – chocolate and vanilla swirl, in a waffle cone with rainbow sprinkles….need I say more?!!