ABOUT BARBARA A MCLEAN
Growing up with an entrepreneurial father and a philanthropic mother, it seems quite natural for me to have my feet in both worlds. And as a result, I tend to either work in my own business or work in nonprofits or both.
My involvement with the non-profit world, though, is deep-rooted. You see, my mom was an avid volunteer and donor for a variety of organizations while I was growing up. Be it for my Brownie troop, our church, the school cafeteria, classroom field trips, the Rotary Anns, or my dad’s business, my mom was always volunteering her time and talents to a variety of causes. It was just a regular part of our lives. It was also a given that mom, throughout her whole adult life, was a regular donor to many local and national organizations that represented charities that touched her life directly or indirectly. My mom had a very big heart and being the generous soul that she was, you could always count on her to open up her cheque book for a worthy cause.
As a result, it was a very unconscious and natural decision on my part that as I grew up, I would also become very involved with non-profit organizations – first as a volunteer starting from the age of 14, then as a front-line employee, a board member, a donor, an Executive Director, and as a consultant. Nearly 40 years later, I am still involved with non-profits, these days as a consultant, a donor, a volunteer and a board member, for this is where my passion truly lies.
Along the way I have veered briefly from the non-profit world but I have always come back. Even when I was completing my MBA, my capstone project centered on the delivery of products and services of a world-renowned museum. Throughout my years with non-profits, I have had the privilege to have worked for and with organizations in animal welfare, festivals and the arts, healthcare, higher education, human services, sports and recreation, school districts, early childhood education, professional associations, and libraries. A real gamut. And yet all of them share these needs in common:
- to remain relevant,
- to remain visible and in the public eye (for all the right reasons),
- to remain viable through monetary and non-monetary support
- to remain attractive to donors and volunteers, alike.
To the fulfillment of these needs, I dedicate the majority of my time and efforts working with various non-profit organizations and heart-centered entrepreneurs by providing education and training, and products and services that make the jobs of their executives and managers easier, their efforts more effective and ultimately, more successful.
WHY DO YOU WORK WITH SO MANY NONPROFITS WHEN YOU HAVE AN MBA?
I had originally started a graduate degree in arts administration but switched over to a MBA program. I always knew that I would probably stay in the nonprofit sector, even with my business degree, because that was where my heart was. But I also wanted the flexibility to work with other heart-centered entrepreneurs like myself.
WHAT IS A HEART-CENTERED ENTREPRENEUR?
In my books, a heart-centered entrepreneur is someone whose mission is to serve others in the fulfillment of providing their products or services in the for profit world.
WHAT DOES THE A STAND FOR IN YOUR NAME?
Ann. Just like in the Beach Boys’ song (is it playing in your head now?).
WHY DO YOU GO BY BARBARA A. MCLEAN AND NOT JUST BARBARA MCLEAN?
Where I grew up on the west coast, I kept being confused with other Barbara McLeans who lived in the same city as I did. I never actually met them, but somehow in a city with a population of over 1.5 million at the time, our lives would overlap. I would get calls from my dentist to remind me about an appointment I hadn’t made (it was the other Barbara McLean) and I was sent a copy of a transcript from my university for a major I wasn’t taking (another Barbara McLean). Once I was even stopped for going “slightly” over the speed limit and when the officer checked my license, I was told there was a warrant out for my arrest (“no, officer, I have never lived there”)! So I think I was in my early twenties when I adopted the convention of always putting my middle initial on everything just to distinguish myself. And now, many years later, after moving across the country to a small town of only about 11,000 people, lo and behold if there isn’t another Barbara McLean who lives here. Again, I’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting her but they sometimes get us mixed up at the library if they don’t double check our addresses.