Barbara Butner is Executive Director of Calm Waters Center for Children and Families. Barbara graduated from Wewoka HS and the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, she earned her BS in ED. After graduation, she went to worked for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and later, joined American Airlines until her early retirement in 1996. She has worked in the non-profit sector for the past 16 years.
2. Tell us about your day-to-day responsibilities:
I have the responsibility of overseeing the agency in all areas such as: fund raising, community relations, volunteer recruitment and PR/marketing.
3. What’s the most exciting business challenge you’ve been faced with?
I am not certain this was the most exciting business challenge, but the BIGGEST challenge that I have been faced with is keeping afloat the Calm Waters team when the economy took a nosedive.
Calm Waters had just expanded grief services to School-based groups within 17 public school systems and the staff had just grown from 4 to 6 full time employees. Cutting back costs and not laying off employees was a major feat. Chesapeake Energy stepped up in a big way and helped the agency through a more challenging economic time.
4. What’s your definition of success?
Success for me is feeling that my actions have truly made a difference – a good positive difference in someone’s life every day.
5. What’s the biggest lesson you learned from a mistake you (or your
Underestimating the fundraising abilities and generosity of our Calm Waters’ board of directors! Our fundraiser in May raise four times as much as we anticipated. Our co-chairs for our 20th Anniversary event were incredible!
6. How has technology improved your business and your life?
For Calm Waters, our website is the “go to” site before ANYTHING happens with our participants, volunteers and donors. It’s informative, has the necessary forms for enrolling in our programs and trainings, and alerts our friends/donors or upcoming events, not to mention the history and information that can be obtained. Calm Waters has cut cost substantially over the last few years in postage/paper. No longer do we need to mail out our materials, but simply direct the families and individuals to our website. This one change has made a huge difference in our organization. There is a much quicker turnaround on getting/receiving information.
7. What’s your favorite app and why?
The Pandora App. I listen to Pandora when I run, work and relax. Love it!
8. What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Maya Angelou says it best, “I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.”
9. Web site, blog or book you consider required reading.
10. What’s next?
This year marks Calm Waters Center for Children and Families’ 20th Anniversary. In the past 20 years, the agency has served more than 20,000 individuals. What’s next? We are forging ahead into the NEXT 20 years by not only serving our local community to the best of our abilities but hope to begin an aggressive outreach into other parts of the state with CW grief services, programs and trainings.