Cindy Skovgard is the executive director of Pathways, a community-based, non-profit organization that provides “compassionate care to families living with illness and loss.” Cindy is in charge of overall agency operations including agency programs, staffing, financial sustainability, and board governance.
What sort of purpose do you feel in your job and/or why do you believe your line of work is important and meaningful?
I wake up every day grateful that I am able to work for Pathways. Helping people at the most stressful, vulnerable, and chaotic times of their lives navigate through what life has thrown them is incredibly gratifying and humbling at the same time. Helping older adults find solutions to their healthcare challenges, helping children and families cope with death and the loss of a love one and helping hospice patients and their families find as much meaning at the end of life as at the beginning is important work and meaningful to those we serve.
What is the most exciting part of your day-to-day work?
Finding solutions to a client/patient’s problems, being granted funding from a Foundation who believes in the quality and impact our work is bringing to our community and meeting the most amazing people (clients, community members) with the most incredible stories.
What do you think the future of your industry looks like, let's say in 15 years? What impact will it be making? How will it be different from what you do now?
Since my industry is health care and social services, we are in no danger of being irrelevant. The way our industry ebbs and flows with the changing times and trends in our community and society in general makes for many opportunities in the future to be creative, effective, and impactful in delivering our services. Also, since we are non-profit and not tied to insurance or government funding, we can move forward without the constraints of traditional health care.
When did you decide you wanted to enter this field? What steps did you take to make that decision a reality?
I didn’t go into non-profit work on purpose, but because I wanted to have a job that made a difference in the lives of others…. Not just an 8-5 job making widgets, the jobs I sought just happened to end up being in a non-profit agency. Helping to make people’s lives better is an incredible honor to be a part of.
For any students, age 12-18 who thinks your job sounds interesting, what advice would you give them to help them learn/train/explore your field?
You have to identify and realize the things you like to do. Then choreograph your schooling to meet your needs. I started looking for a specific kind of job after reading a book in college. It sent me in pursuit of a field that then led me on a path for a long career in non-profit work.
Are there any organizations, communities, or movements that create synergy between you and others in your field, here in the city of Long Beach?
Of course! Lots of non-profits network and collaborate with each to better serve their community. CSULB also gets involved with non-profits via internship programs, which is a great way for students to get experience in a particular field.
What makes Long Beach a great place to live and work as it relates to your industry?
Long Beach residents are a generous community that values kindness, unity and a genuine spirit of helping others.