Hey, I’m Trish, Gangplank’s Executive Director.
Many of you know that Gangplank’s first employee, Katie Hurst headed off on new adventures in October. At that time, I was given the opportunity to challenge myself as the Executive Director for Gangplank. Many of us have already shared meals, ideas, questions, stories, and challenges. However, with a community that now extends globally, I know there are many more community members I have yet to meet. Hopefully this introduction provides a little background.
I am passionately curious. I love meeting people, exploring, and challenging myself. I started college as a parks and recreation major with an emphasis in experiential education. I had the opportunity to practice as an experiential educator while exploring team dynamics and promoting pro social behavior on NAU’s Challenge Course. It turned out team dynamics and social psychology fascinated me more than recreation. I still try to bring an element of play to everything I do, but I found myself taking social psych classes and graduated with a major in psychology.
Upon graduation, I spent several years in career and academic advising. I love seeing people pursue their passions and find meaningful employment. However, I still hoped to do something related to team building or community building. I was also starting to take an interest in under resourced communities. Two years ago I left academic advising to pursue these interests. I obtained a certificate in community development and spent my time visiting under resourced communities. It was a year full of learning and exploring the unique challenges and assets of communities around the country.
After returning to Chandler, my hometown, I came across Gangplank’s website. It completely baffled me, but piqued my interest enough that I stopped in for a brownbag several days later. I still vividly recall that day. With little idea of what I was walking into, I showed up for an open forum brown bag on the topic of “Getting involved in Gangplank”. The good thing about an open forum is engagement was expected and thus I had the chance to make a few immediate connections. The uncomfortable part was that I found myself diving into a brainstorming session on the topic of Gangplank initiatives within my first hour at Gangplank. In the spirit of giving before you get, I went ahead and offered to volunteer my skills in event planning. Katie however contacted me several days later and asked me to join the GP staff as a marketing and events intern (in this instance intern was purely a code word for unpaid staff member). I never would have imagined that this scenario of diving in during uncomfortable situations would come to characterize my time with Gangplank. It often feels like my role with Gangplank changes daily. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with intelligent and capable individuals as I continue to take on this challenge. A few fun facts:
- I have a nerdy love for AZ human and natural history. I actually collect books that relate to AZ.
- I was a white water rafting guide in the Grand Canyon for several summers.
- I love water fights.
- I am the mama of a 7 year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever. He has his mama’s naturally curly brown hair and love for water.
- I can juggle 3 objects fairly easily. I haven’t tried in a while, but probably could pull off 4.
- I didn’t own a smart phone for my first 8 months around Gangplank. Clearly I love social experiments. ;)
I would love the chance to meet you you as well. If we haven’t met yet, please introduce yourself if you see me around or feel free to shoot me a message.