When Christine Bork graduated from college, she dreamed of becoming the next team owner of the Chicago Cubs. When that didn't pan out, she took a job offer from a family friend at the Alzheimer Association, a national health organization for Alzheimer care, support and research. This move ultimately kick started a career in human services for her; one that has spanned nearly 20 years and is still going strong.
"From day one I knew I had found my calling," Bork said of her work at the Alzheimer Association. "It wasn't until then that the idea of dedicating my life to serving other people"and the gratification you can get from that"really called me to it. I haven't left nonprofit management since and never intend to."
Bork has held leadership positions with the American Red Cross, Fox River Chapter and Provena Mercy Center Hospital. In 2002, she joined ranks with YWCA Metropolitan Chicago and has dedicated her career to the empowerment of women ever since.
"I have a daughter who is 11 years old," said Bork. "Joining the YWCA as a volunteer, was a way to help make sure I was delivering"to my daughter"a better life than I had or better opportunities than what I had. It was a way to show my commitment to her and my love to her. I still carry that with me everyday, the idea that I am trying to make the world a better place for my daughter, and now I have a son as well. So it is a wonderful way to spend your day."
This year, Bork was named president and chief executive officer of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago and has already made some changes in to revamp the organization's network playing field.
"We are using technology such as Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and Myspace to communicate with people," she said. "My vision is to create a movement of women focused on eliminating racism and empowering women. I am excited about what it could mean for us, as an organization to mobilize people towards a cause, we haven't had that for a long time. We have to reach out a lot more to other: organizations for profit, not-for-profit and volunteers to find out how we can deliver services in new and innovative ways."Read more story below....
One of the biggest challenges that the YWCA has been facing is the poor economic climate. According to Bork, there are "very few people charitably inclined" now and while the money is going down, the demand for services continues to rise.
"I've taken over a fairly large not-for-profit during one of the worst economic periods in our nation's history," Bork said. "It is no small task, I'll say that. As a CEO, you have to find ways to keep your staff and volunteers inspired to do more with less, because they're being hit by the economy just as much as everyone else is. This crisis is forcing us to think differently and that is exactly what we are trying to do."
The YWCA is even reaching out to the LGBTQ community, offering programs that focus on a number of core areas, including: sexual violence, childcare, economic and racial justice work. The office provides counseling, advocacy and crisis services for all ages, all sexes and all genders.
Although she is not the general manager for a major league sports team, Bork still considers her work at the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, her dream job.
"When I remember that we're serving over 138,000 people every year and we are doing it on what seems like a shoestring budget, that is what gets you through the day," she said. "It is remembering those women we serve that really makes you feel good about yourself, the organization and what you are doing."