River City Six – Heather Kirk
Meet Heather Kirk, executive director of Santa Monica (www.santamonicahouse.org).
Tell us a little about your business.
Santa Monica provides a continuum of care to women with co-occurring disorders. We have three different locations that offer long-term residential services, including a Halfway House, a step down to our ¾ way house, and transitional living apartments.
How did you get started in the business?
Fifteen years ago I was provided an opportunity to work in the nonprofit world and it has been my home ever since. I have worked in a variety of capacities, from board member all the way up to my current position.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
According to Emergenetics, I am strong in analytical and structural assets, with an acceptable amount of visionary skill, but fall short in the social asset. It does not mean I cannot navigate social skills, but it takes a lot of energy for me to be successful at it. I work in the Behavioral Health field, which is heavy in the social area. That has been my biggest challenge.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Helping Santa Monica grow. We have created a sound foundation for the agency, sound business practices and have grown from one location to three in just the last few years.
Tell us a little about your family.
I have been married for 20 years to my husband Todd. We have two boys, Kadin (24) and Jacob (23), and an English bulldog puppy, Rousey. She’s named after Ronda Rousey, the UFC fighter. And she is naughty.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
Sixteen years ago I overcame a situation that impacted my life in every way and in every area. I am grateful for the motivation and support I received that allowed me to make it through to where I am today.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
I love being outside, especially on the beach and in the water and enjoy activities like sand volleyball, boating and skiing.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I played three instruments in high school (flute in concert band, saxophone in jazz band and drums in marching band).
What are you the most proud of?
Obtaining my Master’s degree. I was a below average student in high school and didn’t think I could accomplish all that I have, but I excelled in college and I am grateful for the opportunity. I would go back and get my PhD if I could afford it.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
When I was young my Dad said, “Everyone deserves a second chance.” That has always stuck with me, along with my mother always guiding me to present myself as a lady, with class.
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
Omaha has so many nonprofit organizations with amazing missions it is hard to choose, but my heart lies with organizations that serve women and girls. I know the struggles I have had being a woman and I want to empower others to reach for their full potential.
If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be?
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?