Saturday, June 15, 2024

Ten Questions with Liz Buckley, Williamsburg House of Mercy

Liz Buckley (Brittney Kinstetter)

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — “Ten Questions with” is a series that allows readers to get to know local business leaders, volunteers and community members in the Historic Triangle.

This week meet Liz Buckley.

What is your job title and description?

I’m currently the Interim Executive Director at the Williamsburg House of Mercy, a nonprofit serving the most vulnerable in our area through radical hospitality. I oversee the day-to-day operations and find ways to effectively manage the programs offered to achieve success for the populations we’re serving.

Who do you interact/work with on a regular basis?

We have a staff of 12, a couple of contract employees and interns, and an active volunteer force upwards of 125 persons. On a given day, there’s around 20 people working in our location so there’s interaction with them. In addition, I have daily contact with the board of directors, donors, and community partners who I discuss opportunities for engagement and an overall update on our mission and successes.

What is something about your job most people wouldn’t know about?

How far in the future I’m thinking. For most people, it’s normal to think up to a year ahead, but I’m looking two to five years in the future and making decisions today that impact those years ahead. I tend to work backwards: decide what year five looks like to determine how you operate in year one.

How do you define success?

I subscribe to the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Success isn’t about you the individual, but rather the individual/s impacted by your choices and actions. It can be as big as donating money for emergency shelter or as small as giving a smile to someone who looks like they need it. Every day brings an opportunity for success.

What is your most successful accomplishment to date?

I was just a couple of months into my job at the Williamsburg House of Mercy when Giving Tuesday was approaching. I went out on a limb and decided to do a Match Campaign so a few weeks before Giving Tuesday, I solicited a match from a handful of donors that was for $10,000 with the overall goal of reaching $20,000. To my surprise, our Giving Tuesday campaign raised $27,000 which supplied our Community Kitchen for months. It proved to me that every shot was worth taking and not to be afraid to ask!

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Prioritize your personal self. I spent a lot of time climbing the corporate ladder and prioritizing my professional success over my personal success. I don’t regret my career success by any means, but I could have balanced my professional and personal lives better than I did in my 20s and 30s.

How long have you lived in the greater Williamsburg/York area?

I moved to Williamsburg from Brooklyn, New York in August 2020 in the middle of the pandemic. It’s a complete change from NYC (I’m still looking for a great cocktail lounge that stays open late), but I’m enjoying the slower pace for where I am in my life right now, the fresh air, and lack of pigeons!

What is your favorite part of living here?

I love how close I am to nature. In NYC, I’d have to drive over an hour and be stuck in so much traffic to go hiking. Now I hop in my car and within 10 minutes, I’m walking the Jamestown Loop or the Bassett Hall Nature Trail. Having such immediate access to beautiful trails does wonders for my overall well-being.

What do you do for downtime/to relax?

I love to read so at any given time I have at least three books going. I’m currently reading C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters,” Bonnie Garmus’ “Lessons in Chemistry,” and Craig Taylor’s “New Yorkers.” Depending on how much brain power I have by the time I’m ready to open a book, any of those will either provide an escape, comic relief, or more deeper thinking.

What is the next step in your journey?

To explore my new home state more! I’m still new to Virginia so I look forward to exploring all its’ regions!

Visit Williamsburg House of Mercy to learn more about this nonprofit organization.

Do you want to learn more about your community and the people that live and work in the Historic Triangle? We are looking for people with interesting jobs, super volunteers, or community leaders to showcase. Reach out to let us know if you (or someone you know) would like to be considered for Ten Questions.

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