Monday Morning Meet Your Leaders – Monica Vermeulen
The Ashley Lauren Foundation
1. What is one of the most important qualities of a great leader?
I believe that the qualities necessary to accomplish this begin with a clear vision backed up by tremendous passion for your mission. A leader should be focused, courageous, positive and prepared for the unexpected. It is also vital to listen to those that surround you and then motivate and inspire them to a leadership capacity by bringing forth their knowledge, talents and abilities to create an excellent team effort.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
2. How does your organization take our community to the next level?
The desire of all of those associated with The Ashley Lauren Foundation is to remove the burdens of pediatric cancer that families face on a daily basis. I have walked in their shoes – my daughter, Ashley Lauren, suffered from the devastation of kidney cancer at the age of three. We all get personally involved with each family so that they know they do not have to go through this journey alone. We provide Direct Financial Assistance (household bills, medications and other bills not paid through medical insurance, traveling expenses to and from hospitals, funeral expenses, and much more); Material Assistance (food, clothing, household items and much more); Emotional Support (for the entire family); 4 Major Parties for the Children and their families (Summerfest, Harvest Party, Christmas Party and Spring Party at the Boardwalk); Advocacy; “Making Dreams Come True” Program; Birthday Brigade (we celebrate each child’s birthday); Outings and anything else that is needed to make their lives easier and bring smiles to their faces. When you look into the eyes of a child suffering through this horrific disease, you will stop at nothing to move mountains to make a difference.
3. What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
My favorite thing to do is theatre! I have been involved in theatre and dance since I was a child. I direct, choreograph and act in many productions. We also have a theatrical arm to our Foundation – The Ashley Lauren Foundation Theatre Ensemble. The proceeds from all of our shows benefit The Ashley Lauren Foundation.
4. What is your favorite food/recipe and why?
Ok – so now comes a very boring but honest answer. My favorite food to eat is a huge plate of raw, organic vegetables (any type except lettuce) with no salad dressing. Why? I was never one to enjoy eating meat or fancy combinations of food.