Katie Allston, LCSW-C
Call it servant or democratic leadership, the point for Katie Allston is that everyone within the organization should be aware when organizational change is in the air so they’ll have the chance to express their thoughts and concerns.
“I don’t see a leader as the person at the top, but instead as the person underneath providing support and keeping things balanced,” Allston, executive director of Marian House, said. “As a social worker, I have dedicated my career to working in nonprofits for the betterment of people in need. The work that is done at Marian House is emotional, tiring and requires true heart. Without the right support, the staff can’t focus on the work at hand.”
At the same time, that work of serving women suffering from homelessness, mental illness, addiction, trauma and domestic violence, inspires Allston in the face of her relatively lesser challenges like hitting fundraising goals, which she’s managed to nearly do this year. “They motivate me to conquer my fears and do the things that need to be done to accomplish our mission,” she said.
Innovation is another focus at Marian House, Allston said. A book and photo exhibit about 30 women who graduated from the nonprofit’s program on its 30th anniversary, for instance, provided an excellent opportunity to bring visibility and platform to educate the community about its services. Finding new ways to bring in revenue, such as billing Medicaid for individual and group therapy, has helped keep the agency’s doors open amidst cuts to federal housing dollars.
“As we expand revenue streams we are also considering expanding services and are expanding our footprint,” she said.