Kathy Darling
Previous Leaders United Executive, CA Health and Human Services


Why did you choose to participate in the Leaders United program?
I was in the process of retiring from California State Service, when my husband passed away. I had imagined that my life would  be filled with fun retirement adventures. As it turned out, my Agency, California Health and Human Services, reached out to me at that very time and asked if I would consider taking on this assignment of coordinating the Our Promise State Employees Giving at Work campaign, starting just five weeks after my loss. I had to really think about it, but my husband had already laid the groundwork in telling me that I needed to say ‘Yes’ whenever asked to do something, as he did not want me to isolate myself at home. That is what made me say yes.

That was the beginning of getting back on my feet again. I did not choose the program, but the program chose me. It helped me so much in finding purpose again and knowing that I was helping a very important mission that all non-profits share – providing support to the community that no ‘for profit’ business or government agency provides. You never know when you will need that assistance in your life and for me, it was the Yolo Hospice, now renamed as Yolo Cares! 

What was your favorite part of the program?
There were so many favorite parts of the program for me – being part of a ‘team’ again, learning about the many nonprofits and the valuable services they provide, ‘Make a Difference” Mondays, where we would go to various nonprofits and volunteer our time while learning about their mission and how they serve their communities. We also benefited from various executives that would come to speak to us about leadership development. I also particularly enjoyed working with the campaign leaders and staff in the various departments to have a successful campaign.

What would you tell others who are interested in volunteering?
I would encourage anyone who has an interest in this opportunity to be a Leader United for the Our Promise Campaign, to give it a try. What you gain in experience far outweighs the efforts you put in. It is a very rewarding experience!