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Redeemer Center for Life is thrilled to introduce our next Executive Director: 
Veronica Hawman! She begins her journey with us on July 13th, 2020.

Veronica has spent her career working in nonprofit development. Earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and her Master of Nonprofit Management degree from Hamline University, Veronica is an experienced and skilled leader and fundraiser passionate about racial justice. We are so excited to have her at RCFL!

We had the opportunity to chat with Veronica about her upcoming role as ED with RCFL.
Here’s what she had to say:

Bex: I know this is a daunting question, but who are you?

Veronica: I am a Minnesotan who loves warm weather and the summer time. I like being busy and doing meaningful work with others, whether that is in my professional or personal time. I am very involved with my church and, at heart, I’m an artist. I originally wanted to be an architect and I still draw to relax as well as play the piano. I love music, traveling, and being around friends and family.

Bex: Very cool! Would you say being an artist impacts your professional work?

Veronica: I think that being an artist has influenced me professionally because working in the nonprofit sector requires creativity and the ability to interpret the world as it is and interpret for others. And being an artist requires you to work within constraints, like time, resources, or space, which is also true professionally in the nonprofit sector. We have limited resources and have to solve issues creatively. 

Bex: That makes a lot of sense! In addition to your creativity, how would you describe your leadership style?

Veronica: My leadership style is very teamwork-based. I like to bring everyone along in the process. I like to get to know people and make sure everyone is okay with what we’re doing and onboard with our decisions. Naturally, I am a coach and a leader and I’m comfortable in that space. Outside of work, I often end up leading projects.

Bex: As a staff member at RCFL, I’m excited to experience your collaborative leadership style and learn from your mentorship. Beyond staff support, what are you hoping to bring to RCFL?

Veronica: My dream as an outsider coming in -- which will change once I get into the thick of things -- is to tell everyone about the work we do. It is unique that RCFL answers the call from the neighborhood and is so rooted in the community. As an organization, RCFL doesn't do the work that we think should be done; RCFL does  the work that the neighborhood says needs to be done. That’s a story I want to tell because I believe that if people knew about that, they would want to come along with us. Learn with us. Support us.

I see the great work that’s already been done at RCFL, so I want to build on our foundation to take it to the next level.

Bex: I resonate with what you’re saying. One thing I love about working at RCFL is that we flip the traditional nonprofit model on its head to center the neighborhood and our community’s needs. Another related question: obviously, RCFL works for racial justice in North Minneapolis. How would you describe what drives your commitment to racial justice? 

Veronica: I am an African American woman, born and raised in Minnesota, so I lived and grew up in a place of injustice. In 2020, we have opportunities to make change, so I don’t want to waste this opportunity that I have. I don’t want to sit in a corner and leave it to someone else. If I’m able to do something, I’m going to do it. 

As a Black woman, racial injustice is not something I can escape. Even if everything is fine for me on any particular day, it’s not going to be fine for someone else. We all have to stand up for each other. 

Bex: Absolutely. Thank you for sharing. Switching gears, what’s your connection to North Minneapolis?

Veronica: Growing up, I went to the Glendale  SDA Church a few blocks away. As an adult, I worked at Urban Homeworks, another nonprofit in North Minneapolis. I still haven’t wrapped my head around all the changes in Harrison since I was a kid. The neighborhood felt more residential then.

I feel very comfortable in North Minneapolis. Neighborhoods -- like North Minneapolis or where I live in East St. Paul -- get labelled as “bad neighborhoods,” but once you get there it’s fine. Of course, all neighborhoods have good and bad. But there is a huge difference between how North Minneapolis is portrayed and how it actually is.

Bex: I totally agree. Anything else you want to add?

Veronica: I’m really excited to join RCFL and be a part of the unique work we do in the community. I hope we continue to build on that foundation.

Bex: We’re extremely excited to have you and your leadership. Thank you so much!

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