Meet the Board
This month’s featured board member told me she has a hard time keeping her hands in her lap. Whenever there’s a problem to solve or a role to fill, she’s quick to volunteer: raising her hand, jumping in, and finding solutions. She’s been involved with the local Maine ATD chapter, the national ATD conference, and New England area events for many years. This year, she became our chapter president…
Meet Dawn Walker-Elders!
Dawn spends her workdays training volunteers as the Adult Learning Director with Girl Scouts of Maine. She describes what she does as “teaching people how to work with other people's children.”
When I asked Dawn about her professional journey to where she is now, she took me back to her kindergarten classroom. Rather than describe herself as a “natural” teacher, she explained that as soon as she learned to read, she felt compelled to share that knowledge with anyone who would sit next to her for five minutes.
This desire to learn the codes of the world and share them with everyone else has driven her through a lifetime of learning, teaching, and leading.
Maybe my favorite phrase from my conversation with Dawn was when she described herself as “mostly nice.” One of the most refreshing parts of talking with Dawn is she recognizes that people are humans and that none of us are perfect.
I love how she held space for herself to be less than nice occasionally and we talked about the importance of offering ourselves and each other grace for those moments. As the president, Dawn leads this group of learners and volunteers with patience and respect.
But what does she do in all her free time (when she manages to keep those hands from raising and volunteering herself for more work?)
Besides volunteering for boards and groups and projects, Dawn avoids sitting still by traveling. She has explored cities around the world and recently started adding road trips to more rural destinations. She shared that these off-the-beaten-path explorations tend to be some of her favorite trips because it’s a chance to experience a community that isn’t curating itself for tourists and simply witness how life there goes about.
In every story Dawn shares, her love of learning and experiencing life is palpable. She told me about a trip she took last year with her children. They hiked 100 miles in ten days through three countries, with no cell service. While acknowledging the challenges, Dawn clearly enjoyed the experience of exploring a new place in a new way.
You might find Dawn working with the Girl Scout leaders of Maine, or traveling on a back road somewhere, or hiking in a foreign country. Her only requirement: “not space.” But if it’s somewhere on Earth, she’ll probably volunteer to go.