We are pleased to present this brief interview with our 2016 board president, Mary Gottschalk.
What is your connection to the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center?
I have been involved with mental issues for many years. Both my parents were the field of psychology, and I availed myself of mental health services for several years in my early adulthood. In mid-1990’s I was deputy director of Community Access, Inc., a non-profit that provided housing and mental health services to the mentally ill in New York City. I have been a supporter of the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center since I came to Des Moines in 2000, but only recently joined the board.
What is your educational background:
I have a BA (history and philosophy) from the University of Chicago, and a MBA (finance and economics) from the University of Cincinnati. However, I am a perpetual student and have audited courses in philosophy at Drake for the last seven to eight years.
What is your employment background?
I have more than three decades experience in strategic financial management, both as a line manager and a consultant. Consulting clients included the boards and executive management of Fortune 500 firms in the U.S. and overseas; non-profit consulting targeted social service agencies in New York, Melbourne (Australia) and Des Moines. I came to Des Moines in January 2001 as Chief Financial Officer of the Federal Home Loan Bank to implement three key structural changes in the Bank’s mission and operations. After completing my engagement at the Bank, I elected to remain in Des Moines as an independent consultant (MCG Strategic Services) to provide financial and strategic planning for the non-profit sector. Strategic planning clients in Des Moines included the Drake School of Journalism and the College of Business and Public Administration. My teaching experience includes five years (2009–2014) as an adjunct instructor in the College of Business and Public Administration at Drake University and two years in the Senior College of Greater Des Moines. I am currently an adjunct instructor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Drake University.
What are your hobbies?
I am an avid reader and love to write. I also have a passion for gardening. At the top of my list these days, however, is traveling, preferably renting an apartment or house in someplace I’ve never been, and spending long enough to get to know it.
How did you get involved with the Center’s board of directors?
I have known Ellery for most of my time in Des Moines, although I cannot quite remember where we first met. In early 2014, I realized I would soon complete my board and committee commitments to several large non-profits in Des Moines, and was looking for another agency to which I might make a commitment. The Center came immediately to mind … I approached Ellery, and was thrilled when he recommended me for the term starting in early 2015.
What do you find most inspiring about the Center’s mission?
I have been aware of the Center since arriving in Des Moines more than 15 years ago. In that time, I have come to know the Center directly through counseling relationships. I have also been aware of the Center through friendships with staff as well as from its reputation in the community. The Center goes far beyond a traditional mental health counseling facility, with its innovative and diverse programs for spiritual and personal support. It is a unique organization, and a gem in our midst.
Thank you, Mary!