GC Top Mover-and-Shaker: Kathleen Carey
By Jessica Rodrigo
Upon returning to Victoria after earning her bachelor's degree in fashion marketing and merchandising from Southwest Texas State University, Kathleen Carey was introduced to the world of hospice by a friend. With an open mind, she decided to give it a try.
"I liked it. I loved the residents and loved the people," Carey said. "I loved the healthcare field. Once I got into it, I was hooked."
One of the things Carey said resonated with her and Hospice of South Texas was the ability to work with people who were unable to pay for services. She remembered how heavily it would wear on her when people would be turned away when they couldn't be helped.
She began working with the nonprofit hospice care organization in 2005, and said she hasn't turned back since.
"Working for a nonprofit is such a blessing because you know you're doing good and making a difference in someone's life," the 43-year-old said.
In addition to working with the hospice organization, Carey has worked with various community organizations.
Susan Cohen, who has known Carey for what she describes as forever, nominated the Victoria resident for her hard work and interest in helping others.
"Hospice is one busy organization," Cohen said. "She's interested in helping ill people and their welfare."
Carey's work with the Hospice of South Texas and helping to raise funds for different organizations has taken her throughout the network of groups in Victoria. She has served on various boards, including those with the Texas Zoo, Victoria Preservation, Inc., museum fundraisers, Bach Festival, P.A.W.S. and more.
Along with her dedication to the welfare of people, she has a love and desire to help animals in need.
"She has a big heart and is empathetic to animals," Cohen said. "When she has time, she also volunteers at the Dorothy O'Connor adoption clinic."
Sally Kuecker, director of Dorothy O'Connor Pet Adoption Center, said Carey is always willing to help.
"We help each other out in the nonprofit world," Kuecker said. "She's a very giving person and asks for nothing in return."
Kuecker said Carey has even brought her daughter, Jane, with her to events and the two have volunteered together.
"My daughter has said to me, 'Mom, I want to do what you do when I grow up,'" Carey said proudly.
She added that getting her daughter involved in the volunteering process and out in the community early has been important because she thinks it's a valuable experience.
Family: Engaged to Randall Card. Children: daughter, Jane Lehman, 11; and fiancé's daughter Laira Card, 10. Part of seven generations in Victoria.
What are your biggest successes with the organizations you're involved in? What one goal do you still want to complete?
Recognition and impact is one of the most important goals with any organization I work with. Making sure people in the community know they are here, what they do and their importance to Victoria and surrounding counties. Promoting their fundraiser and/or awareness helps with this, understanding what the money raised is used for and what the community can do to get involved.
I would eventually love Hospice of South Texas to have an in-patient unit. It is so needed in this area, so raising funds for that would be a great experience!
Who has been essential to your success?
I cannot just say one person: my parents have always taught me the importance of community work; the people I work with at Hospice of South Texas are some of the most giving people you will meet, and my daughter always inspires me to do better, as well as my fiancé. I have wonderful friends who know it is hard for me to say no, but will also be right beside me volunteering or fundraising, my mother and my grandmother always volunteered, so I guess it is in the blood.
What do you say to someone who says they have no time to commit to volunteering or helping with charity organizations?
Working for a nonprofit of course that knows the importance of community work is so great for me, but for anyone interested in volunteering but feeling they do not have time, can always find something small. Focus on your interests; find something through your church, or friends at work. There are so many aspects of volunteering for any organization; I feel there is always something for everyone, no matter their limitations. God's greatest gift is our ability to help others, and it comes in many different forms!
What are some of the specific interests/areas that you strive to promote with your work?
I love my organization, Hospice of South Texas. EDUCATING the public on what our organization can do for families who are dealing with a life limiting illness is our number one goal, healthcare in general is so important, so many of the organizations I work with promote knowing the different types of services available in the Crossroads area, we are very blessed to have such a rich healthcare community! I also love animals, and helping promote their wellbeing is an aspect for any volunteer work I do for those organizations. Most importantly I love my family, anything I can do to volunteer with my daughter and teach her the importance of giving of her self is the best gift I can give her.