Road-weary from spending as many as four months a year on the road and looking for a chance to spend more time with her family, Mary Beth Heffernan decided to take a break from corporate America.
After spending 18 years building a global footprint for a Twin Cities biomedical company, she went home to two young children - and to volunteer her time to a worthy organization.
She signed on with a regional food shelf, starting as an envelope stuffer and then moving up to managing groups that came to pack groceries for food shelves. For more than a year, Heffernan enjoyed contributing to an organization committed to helping others in need. After hinting that she might be interested in paid employment, an executive interviewed her for the job of donor relations manager - and she got the job.
"The pieces fell together for me during the 14 months I was off," says Heffernan. "I told the people who interviewed me I was looking to work in a nonprofit."
The change was happy and challenging for Heffernan. "It's less frantic than working for a public company, where you have to meet your goals quarterly," she says. "But there are more deadlines because there is more to do with fewer people."